Thoughts on the Pledge of Allegiance. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 02:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd has been learning the pldege of Allegiance in Kindergarten. I really don't have any objection to her learning it. She's also learned how to sign it in ASL at school. She is proud to show it off to everyone.

What I do object to is that she has absolutely no idea what it means. They teach them how to say the words but she doen't know what the words; pledge, allegiance, republic, nation, indivisible, liberty, and justice mean. I realize that its kind of a obscure concept for their age group, but if they can't get the concept why are they teaching it yet? I've tried explaining it myself but it goes compleatly over her head. Its just meaningless big words to them. Granted, it went over my head too as a child, but nobody attempted to explain it to me either.

Also, she is under the impression that it is compulsary. I myself don't object to her learning it but I know some parents do. I strongly believe that the whole point of the Pledge is that we have the free will in the first place as to whether or not to say it. It kind of makes me squirm a bit inside when she told me everybody HAD to do it.

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#2 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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Yeah, that's my problem with it too. I'm not so fond of the "Under God" part, but the rote recitation is what really gets to me.
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#3 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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I adore the way my kids were taught the pledge. They were taught the pledge and then they were taught what it means. I have it here on my wall and my kids love it and read it all the time:
I promise to be loyal to America, our country. And to our government. We are one people, most of whom believe in God, we can not be divided, we are free and we stand for fairness for everyone.
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#4 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 04:52 AM
 
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I've taught at a bunch of schools, and sent my son to several schools and none of them have said the pledge, which is just as well by me.

Having said that, if he went to a school that did say it, it wouldn't bother me that much. I think it's faintly ridiculous to think that saying something semi-voluntarily every day is going to make a difference in one's behavior or how one feels about one's country, but I don't think it's that harmful.

If my child was little I probably wouldn't bring it up, beyond "wow, you must have worked hard to remember that! Good for you!" If he was older I'd probably eventually have a discussion about why I don't love it and see it as silly. If he ever decided not to say it I'd support him 100% but I probably wouldn't plant that see.

It doesn't surprise me that the kids think it's mandatory. The message is pretty strong in elementary school that you do what the teacher says to do, so if she's saying "stand up, put your hand over your heart" and not specifically saying "unless you have a philosophical objection" then the littler kids are going to think it's what they're supposed to do.
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#5 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...Having said that, if he went to a school that did say it, it wouldn't bother me that much. I think it's faintly ridiculous to think that saying something semi-voluntarily every day is going to make a difference in one's behavior or how one feels about one's country, but I don't think it's that harmful.

If my child was little I probably wouldn't bring it up, beyond "wow, you must have worked hard to remember that! Good for you!" If he was older I'd probably eventually have a discussion about why I don't love it and see it as silly. If he ever decided not to say it I'd support him 100% but I probably wouldn't plant that see.
I've asked her several times to show it off to others and it gives her some pride to show that she can site and sign it correctly. She enjoys doing it but I want her to know the meaning of what she does. Otherwise its pretty pointless.

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I adore the way my kids were taught the pledge. They were taught the pledge and then they were taught what it means. I have it here on my wall and my kids love it and read it all the time:
I promise to be loyal to America, our country. And to our government. We are one people, most of whom believe in God, we can not be divided, we are free and we stand for fairness for everyone.
Thank you, that is very helpful. Maybe I can try explaining it that way.

I would like to teach her love of country and I don't mind using the pledge to do so, but I don't want her to just be reciting the words. I want her to know what she's saying.

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#6 of 17 Old 12-21-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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If it's just that she doesn't know the meaning of the recitation that bugs you, may I ask why you've not just explained it to her?

Or asked the teacher if she has explained it, or will? It would have been an awesome Veteran's Day activity, but...eh, it can be done any time of the year.

It seems like a simple solution to me. If you don't want her to recite the pledge, ask her not to. If you just want her to know what it means, then teach her what it does.

My kids have grown up knowing what all those words mean (though none of them recited or learned the pledge until they got to school). The military-brat-fu runs strong in our family. BUT, I also have told them from the start that we also must speak out against things that our country has done or is doing that is wrong, and pledging allegiance means that we should take that duty extremely seriously.

It disturbs me more when I see uber-nationalistic teachings where kids are simply told that the pledge means obediance and support in all things. Honor, certainly--but honor does not mean blind obedience. At least not in our family.

I wouldn't want some poor teacher to try to explain that though--s/he'd be attacked on all sides just about if s/he dared. And s/he might focus more on the obedience to authority, which I detest as a proud American. So I actually think it's preferable for it to be discussed within the family, not explained at school. Shades of grey and all that.

Oh, and about the under god--I explained why I don't say that, and that it was not part of the original pledge, and why I think that it's dangerous when religious leaders start thinking they have more of a claim on the country than we do. If they choose to say under God, that is their personal choice. But we've had many dinner table discussions about some of the dangerous things that have happened in the name of combining religion and nationalistic power.

If you think about it, the pledge opens up so many different and awesome oppportunity for family historical and spiritual discussions, not to mention vocabulary, and the idea that the same words can mean vastly different things to different people.
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#7 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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I promise to be loyal to America, our country. And to our government. We are one people, most of whom believe in God, we can not be divided, we are free and we stand for fairness for everyone.
I like this a lot. Thankfully, I have no use for it right now, though, because the school I teach at doesn't say the pledge. There was a huge brouhaha over it a few years ago (inadvertently started be me. oops.) about this and when it came down to it none of us teachers saw any reason to have the kids say the pledge without a direct curricular connection. For a while the whole school (those who opted to, anyway) would say it once a month during community meeting, but that has fallen to the wayside.
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#8 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 02:26 AM
 
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Oh, and about the under god--I explained why I don't say that, and that it was not part of the original pledge, and why I think that it's dangerous when religious leaders start thinking they have more of a claim on the country than we do. If they choose to say under God, that is their personal choice. But we've had many dinner table discussions about some of the dangerous things that have happened in the name of combining religion and nationalistic power.
The pledge make more sense when you go back to the original wording without the "under god" slipped into it in the middle of a thought.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the US of A,
and to the republic for which it stands one nation indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

See, "indivisible" is an adjective used on the noun "one nation." When you add in "under god" it separate "indivisible" from "one nation" and the meaning of "indivisible" becomes more clouded.

BTW: as a child I said "invisible" for many many years, I hear it's quite common.

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#9 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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Of course understanding is improved through looking at the historical back ground. The pledge was developed following the Civil war.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the US of A, This was basically stating "I am not a rebel"
and to the republicthis was acknowledging the authority of the federal government in DC for which it stands one nation indivisible,this mean "we are one country and won't divided into north and south"
with liberty and justice for all.this is a reference to abolishing slavery and promoting emancipation.


"under god" was added in the 1950's as a reaction to prayer being taken out of public schools.

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#10 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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My youngest learned the pledge this year, and it has somehow struck a chord with him. He currently insists on saying the pledge as a before dinner "grace".
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#11 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 03:52 AM
 
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I really don't like it. It bothers me that my kids are made to pledge their allegiance to anything. Yes I know it's not compulsary. My kids don't understand it so they certainly wouldn't understand why not to say it. We made sure my oldest didn't say it in preschool. He had a serious speech delay so ho really couldn't anyway. In K his school didn't say it. The school he's been in since 1st and that ds2 is in now says it daily. Ds1 still can't say it very well and I don't think ds2 can follow along either. They are different enough so I don't want to draw more attention to them so I just let it go.

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#12 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 09:13 AM
 
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I'm one of those who has a problem with it, based on my experience as a teacher. When an entire school recites something at the same time (beginning of the day, for example), it takes on an air of compulsoriness, even if legally it is not compulsory. Especially since many adults feel very strongly in favor of reciting the pledge and have a hard time separating their personal feelings about it from the law. This puts children in a very awkward position.

I've known of three students who refused to recite it.

The first was in my class and I allowed him not to recite it so long as he was quiet and respectful during the recitation. He was. BUT whenever another adult was in the room he got hassled by them and told he HAD to recite it, even if I was there defending his right not to. I used to have to leave notes for substitutes so he could sit out the pledge and run interference whenever other teachers visited my room in the morning. This of course made the kid refuse to recite it even more strongly (he was 13). What began as a likely passing phase turned into an adolescent cause de jour.

The second was a student in another class. Her teacher complained to me over lunch that the girl said her religion forbade her from reciting the pledge. (The girl was a Jehovah's Witness.) The teacher went on to say that she (the teacher) told the girl she is very personally offended by people who don't recite the pledge and that she had to at least stand up during it. When I told her the law was on the girl's side and the girl wasn't trying to be offensive, just true to her religious tenets, she looked at me like I had two heads. The girl recited the pledge from then on.

The third was a friend who decided not to recite it when she was 16. She was sent to the principal's office who gave her a friendly, yet long, lecture and convinced her to recite it. No punishment or anything, but he did convince her to say it every morning.

If it were easy for kids to opt out respectfully I'd feel less strongly against it than I do.

Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#13 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
If it's just that she doesn't know the meaning of the recitation that bugs you, may I ask why you've not just explained it to her?
In my original post I said that I had. It goes over her head. She doesn't get it.

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#14 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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It makes my head explode. It is so Little Red Guard.

I don't pledge allegiance to a flag. A flag is a piece of cloth. It is a symbol. Pledging to it (or not) has nothing to do with my feelings about my country.

I tell my kids they don't have to say it, but there is tremendous peer pressure for them to do so. My 9 year old is a pretty hard core atheist, and she thinks the "under God" part is idiotic.

Dh is a public high school teacher. Every few years, the fascist administrator du jour will see that not all kids are pledging, and will yell at the teachers to force them to say it. More than once, dh has declined to do so, and has had to meet with said administrators with his union rep and copies of the SC case decisions that make the fact that schools cannot force kids to say the pledge settled law. Rather than harass dh, you'd think they'd thank him for keeping them out of a law suit that they would lose in a nanosecond.
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#15 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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I'm one who is annoyed by it.

I did not say the pledge in high school, and no one ever said anything to me about it.

DD's entire primary school gathers for the pledge and songs in the AM. When I am there, I don't say it. But, I'm usually in the back, so no one sees.
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#16 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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I don't pledge allegiance to a flag. A flag is a piece of cloth. It is a symbol. Pledging to it (or not) has nothing to do with my feelings about my country.


1ht

I stopped saying it in hs, as did several others, but we all stood, just silently. My girls have learned it but I haven't explained it yet.

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#17 of 17 Old 12-22-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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Eepster, I like the historical context. Amcal, I like your explanation, too.

I don't have a problem with it, never did. But I was really shocked when my daughter said how a kid just last year in her 8th grade got in trouble with the substitute teacher when he refused to stand for it. The regular teacher had never had a problem with it. The sub tried to give him detention or somesuch. But instead the teacher got in trouble with the higher ups and was let go.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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