Are we doing the right thing? An interesting question. I receive messages asking me why I rarely if ever state my opinion in my blog posts. It is true. I rarely state my opinion. The nature of my blog posts are to bring topics to my readers attention. Most times I present real facts to help other wade through the difficult waters of multiple different opinions on a particular topic. Opinions are not fact based, but are fine to have, and yes, they are our given right. However, in every case where there are many opinions it can also become confusing. I try to calm those waters.
This post is different. There are some facts, but I am stepping out to state my opinion on this topic. Why? Due to things I have seen on the news regarding children in our schools. Things that trouble me. Life is ever evolving. Some things are for the betterment of our future, and others are not so good. Often times, when society tries to solve one problem, we may create another. I raised three children who are now adults. For the most part, the way most parents raise their children parallels the way they were raised. Also, I love to volunteer to help other children in various ways due to my career in pre-hospital medicine.
Keep in mind, younger children are like sponges. They learn by sucking up the things they see, more than what they are taught. As they grow older, the two methods become balanced. As they continue to grow, they form their own opinions. Like any foundation, everything above it relies on how strong the foundation is. I have seen the positive results, and the negative results, of some of the things that society has done with the hopes of making things better. However, sometimes, these things effect basic values, morals, and pricinpals that I believe should be sacred. The things that help us all to be good and better people. Let's get into this controversial topic. Keep in mind, opinions are like rear ends, everyone has one. Opinions are not about who is right or wrong, because everyone's opinion counts. It is what we do as a result of those opinions that defines what happens next.
The big controversy in schools over past few years that at times, receives a great deal of attentions are religion, and respecting our flag. Their has been a great deal of news coverage over the past week regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. Both these topics are determined by how you perceive the first amendment. Perceive you ask? Yes. The first amendment is one part of our constitution that many have perceived differently. How scholars perceive it may or may not represent someone's rights based on the what the opinion of society as a whole, perceives. Although the first amendment is interpreted differently by many, it is a statement of words. However, our are law makers interpreting it the way our founding fathers intented it to be?
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - courtesy of the internet
Over the past two weeks we have all seen on the news the report of the child who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in his class room. We could make the case that the child was expressing their freedom of expression. Whatever the reason, the question I pose to you is, are we sending the right message to our children. I grew up with religion being taught in school, and standing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance was mandatory. With that said, was it wrong?
In my opinion, religion should be separate from school. Although a convenience at the time for parents, unless every religious belief is going to be taught in after schools classes, which we all know is not possible or practical, we should not provide one or two beliefs. That certainly is not an equal balance. Religion of government must be separate. The government is not in the religious business. Therefore, I agree, and that is an easy fix.
As for the Pledge of Allegiance, that is another matter. One of the things we entrust our school system to do is to reinforce values, principals, respect, and morals. Things that should be being taught at home. Part of that value system is RESPECT. If our children are not taught respect, how can we expect them to practice it. Respect is a broad word that applies to all aspects of life. If it should apply to all aspects of life, in my opinion, this highly controversial ruling does not support respect.:
The United States Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), and reaffirmed in U.S. v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990), has ruled that due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it is unconstitutional for a government (whether federal, state, or municipal) to prohibit the desecration of a national flag. (in part, courtesy of Wikipedia)
This ruling is the bases for why standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a matter of choice.
Personally, I do not agree with this ruling. Numerous other countries do not allow the desecration of the their national flag. Think about this. Our society finds it appalling and disrespectful when we see a video of another country burning our flag, yet, we will allow our citizens to burn it. Why is it disrespectful if another country does it, but not if one of our citizens do it? This must lead us to ask the question, "Are We Doing The Right Thing? As a society, if we do not build the basics of respect for our children, how can we expect them to grow up having respect for anything? Respect starts at home, however, as a parent, how you teach it, support it, or display it, can cause a child a great degree of confusion within the system. I say the system because the school system is only reacting to the law, not their personal opinion or choice.
I could write a complete paper on what our American Flag represents, but you all know that. It's largest representation is that it represents a free nation, freedom, and the lives of those that were lost or serving our country in order to defend it. Yet, we allow people to not respect what our flag stands for. Why, because of words? Words by the way that could be taken a bit to far, and out of context. I believe it was not the intent of our founding fathers to extend the right of freedom of speech and expression to that degree.
If that were the case, why is it against the law to parade around naked in the streets? Can;t they be interpreted as freedom of expression? Of course, it can. However, it is considered immoral and offending behavior. Therefore, it is against the law. In fairness, why do we allow our children not to repsect our flag, or others to desecrate it? Don;t many see that as immoral and offensive? I am NOT stating people do not have the right to peacefully and properly express their rights to free speech and expression, I am saying there are some things where that should not apply to. I hear people say many times that the youth of today is much more disrespectful than years ago. Studies show that to be true. My experience in 30 years of pre-hospital medicine shows me in many cases, that is true. There is a reason behind every action a person takes, or does not take. Has are society contributed to this present day attitude? ABSOLUTELY. It is not right to hold any individual responsible for the things we have taught them, than complain about it. that is like saying twp parents who use foul language around their house think it's cute when their young child repeats a swear word. Than, as the child gets older they punish their child for doing it. Really? What the hell kind of message it that?
Getting back on topic. Any set of words can be taken in the literal sense, which many times, is different than their intended intent. We reply on people such as judges to make these rulings. However, I believe they are not always correct. Students are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because some religions do not believe in it, therefore, they could not be compelled to participate or be punished for it. (West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnett)
Many schools still start their day with the Pledge of Allegiance. I do believe that is a schools choice. However, I believe our children need to be taught what our flag represents, along with respecting it, regardless of religion. Especially if religion and stat are to be separate. There are many countries that allow you to live there, however, you must live by their laws. Your religious beliefs have nothing to do with their laws. That is another controversial topic. The point is, it is difficult to draw a line in the sand. Somethings are simply not that cut and dry. However, they still need to be addressed. They should be addressed properly, and in the best interest of people. These decisions should not effect the basic principals of life. Yet, they do. Some may say that a child is to young to understand. If that is the case, then how do we know if we are doing the right thing by our children. How do we know we are giving them the freedom to make their own choice versus forcing a concept of belief at them. If is accomplished by promoting what is morally correct based on what society as a whole accepts as being moral.
I am sure there are many that agree, and disagree. Please feel free to leave your comment below. Remember the first rule of respect. Respect each others opinion. You do not have to agree. They have a right to it. Do that, and they will respect yours. Follow me on Facebook - Caesar Rondina Author, Twitter - @caesarrondina, and Instagram - caesarrondinaauthor. While you are here, go to the main blog page and sign up to receive a notification when a blog is posted. Your email address is never shared, not is it sold.
Thank you ...Caesar Rondina