Patriotism: One Woman’s Perspective

11 11 2013

Old Glory Flying High

Old Glory Flying High

Sitting in a metal folding chair, I’m surrounded by parents. We’re in the gymnasium of our neighborhood elementary school. My son is receiving a reward.

The principal approaches the lectern and asks everyone to stand for the flag salute. All those first through fifth graders who were sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on the floor stand. In unison, 100 youthful voices say, “I pledge allegiance to the flag…”

I freely admit that an enormous clot of snot clogged my throat. Tears set my eyes on red alert. Something about a crowd of young people reciting the pledge with one voice chokes me up every time.

It’s the same with the National Anthem. This embarrassed me twenty years ago. People stared at me, wondering what I had to cry about. It was only a song, after all.

Eighth graders at the middle school where I worked for seven years still learn the history behind it. Sadly, I think to them, it’s just another meaningless factoid they’ll be expected to know for a test.

Patriotism dies a slow death in American public schools. How can I say this? Here are a few proofs:

  • Kids don’t stand for the pledge. Only five years after the incident where I listened to an entire school recite the pledge in unison, I stood dumb-founded at the back of a classroom. Tuesday morning the principal came over the intercom and “offered the opportunity” for students to say the pledge. In a class of 34 students, maybe 20 stood up.
  • Some of them talk during the pledge. The teacher in the room during a specific year I’m recalling is a veteran of the navy (and I served in the Army Reserves). A few students decided to have a confab during the pledge. When it was finished, she took them to town. It’s disrespectful to talk during this ceremonial action that takes all of 20 seconds to accomplish. You know what happened? One of the kids complained to his parents. Parents called principal and the time for the pledge was moved to a different class period so that student wouldn’t be in that teacher’s class during the pledge. Really? That’s a solution?
  • What’s the name of the National Anthem again? You might think I’m joking, but if I asked 20 students at the middle school, only 60 percent of them would be able to tell me.
  • Freedom is a right. American youth have an incredible sense of entitlement. The example of the kid tattling on the teacher is a perfect illustration. They have the right to do and say as they please. They are free to disrespect anyone and everyone. Freedom is a privilege, but these kids have so many privileges that they could care less about it (unless you infringe on their right to wear an obscene t-shirt to school).

Maybe I’m just an over-emotional woman, but I cried when I stood in front of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, for the first time. A long wall of names of brave men and women who died so some kid could talk during the pledge.

Vietnam War Memorial in D.C.

Vietnam War Memorial in D.C.

Okay, that was an exaggeration, but in reality, what would make these kids sit up and take notice that their freedom of expression was bought and paid for by millions of pints of blood over hundreds of years?

Freedom is never free. As soon as we start taking it for granted, we’re disrespecting all the patriots who gave it all for our liberty.

How do you define patriotism? Do you think the youth of today lack it? Will they “grow into” it as they become more mature?

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all my future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website. Thanks. 

Advertisements




Still Learning at Every Age

15 05 2013

This is borrowed from Carla Foote the blog manager for Weekly Refill.

“Apparently when Michelangelo (painter, sculptor, architect, poet – original Renaissance man) was 87 years old he said, “Ancora imparo” – I am still learning.

Reasons to stop learning (most of us won’t articulate these, but they are in the back of our minds when we step back rather than forward towards a learning opportunity):

  • Fear – of what others will think, of looking stupid, of being wrong, of not being able to accomplish whatever we want to learn
  • Time – to accomplish something new, we need to set aside time, make it a priority and stop doing activities that are less meaningful
  • Settling – the comfort and safety of the known can cause us to settle for staying stuck, rather than trying new things
  • Lack of      imagination – we have never pictured ourselves doing the new thing – being a lifeguard, writing a book, climbing a mountain, speaking in front of a crowd, telling our story

Reasons to keep on learning:

  • Stretching – it’s as good for our minds as it is for our muscles
  • Stewarding – we have gifts and influence we can invest for the kingdom, in every season of life
  • Serving – the lifeguard learns so she can save a life – I learn so I can serve my community in some way”

What are the reasons you give for either backing away from new experiences or embracing them with gusto?

As a middle-aged college student, I’ve obviously decided that I have more to learn. In fact, when I graduate next month *cheesy grin* I will still want to keep learning.

If I stop learning, I believe I’ll shrivel up and die. My brain craves new information and experiences. I don’t want to ever say, “I’m too old for that.”

This old dog is happy to learn new tricks.





Feeling Pressure: Learning to Perform under It

24 04 2013

Image courtesy of 123rf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of my professors assigned two papers that are due at the same time.”

This from my youngest son, a young man who believes he’s headed into the marketing industry. I’m sure once he’s there, his employer will never assign him multiple projects that share the same due date.

Yeah, right. What universe does he plan to live and work in? Certainly not the American one. Read the rest of this entry »





What Does a College Degree Mean?

24 10 2012

My stress level rises. Sleep eludes me while essay topics dance through my head, not in the least as enticing as sugar plums. I have no life outside of work and school.

Is getting a college degree worth all this and more?

By more, I mean thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. Sleeplessness and weight gain and periods of despondency are all byproducts of pursuing this piece of paper.

What does having a college degree mean? Will it mean I’m smarter? Well, I will be, provided I don’t lose my mind in the process. Will it mean I deserve a better paying job? I hope to get one, so I hope so.

In a recent interview, the husband of my colleague said, “Some of the smartest people I’ve met don’t have college educations.”

It can probably be inferred that some of the most socially inept people I’ve met have advanced or multiple college degrees. They might be brainiacs but they wouldn’t survive for ten minutes on the street.

What does having a college degree mean to you? Complete my poll and comment if you have more insight to share.








Christian Creative Nexus

Spiritual Resourcing Hub for Christians Pursuing their Calling

Simply Gracie Girl

Adventuring Since 1997

michelle ziegler

In a world of serious, I write an escape

Through the Gate

with Joe and Cathleen Parks

Roane Publishing Blog

Without authors, there'd be no publishers.

Raw Moments with a Real God

Being Transparent with an Intimate God

Becky Bean Writes

The Blog of Becky: How Not to Live Your Life

Bex Book Nook

Where books like to hang out.

Wendy Sparrow

Where all books have a happily ever after...

The Machenwood Chronicles and Other Tales

A site for writers and readers

Kait Nolan

Smart, sassy, small town Southern romance that makes you feel like home

J. Rose Books

Synchronicity...explored

Jennifer M Eaton

Author, Weaver of Tales

The Mom Pages

Sharing The Mom Life One Page at a Time

Kelly Roberts Writing

Cooking with bubble wrap

YA Chit Chat

The Ponderings of YA author J. Keller Ford

Melissa Kircher

Artist and Writer for Hire | Helping You Make Your World More Bold and Beautiful

Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.

jmmcdowell

An archaeologist finds herself writing fiction — what stories will she unearth?

Janice L. Dick

Tansy & Thistle Press: faith, fiction, forum