Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Don't Pledge My Kids' Allegiance to a Flag

Many homeschooling families begin their days with a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. As I don't see anything beneficial to forcing my kids to swear an oath to a piece of cloth, we don't do it here.

I believe a promise as big as swearing allegiance to something should be made from an autonomous person who has made the choice to do so. Now I cringe with memory of myself and other little robots reciting the Pledge each morning in my public elementary school. What was the purpose?

I'll admit I have much more respect for the Pledge as originally written in 1892, by a Baptist minister no less:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Though better, it's still an oath, and if my kids are going to recite it, it won't be because I make them. The American and parenting ideals that I value do not include making little kids swear blind oaths to anything. To me, that's the opposite of encouraging freethinking, independent thought.

Anyone else have strong feelings about kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?


  1. To Pledge or not to Pledge actually caused one of the largest blow outs the otherwise nice homeschool co op I used to belong to ever had. Some people suddenly got the idea that we should say the Pledge at every co-op meeting, and I said that if we were sincere in our desire to keep the co-op inclusive, this would be a bad idea as it would automatically dis-include anyone who came from a "no oaths" faith.

    I had people yelling and crying at me. One woman went so far as to have her husband write me an admonitory email to "instruct" me, since obviously my husband was too weak to act as a proper Head of Household and wasn't keeping his woman in her proper place.

    I'm personally neither pro nor con Pledge. Like you, I prefer the original better to the McCarthy era communist hunting one. I think kids should know the Pledge (and Flag etiquette!) and we occasionally review it. It's not any kind of pseudo-religious daily recital at our house, though.

    1. I think you bring up a great point that it's good for kids to be familiar with the Pledge. My daughter is, but I don't believe my boys are. I should work on that.

      Very sad about the homeschool co-op blow out. I don't see why people would be so upset when they could have their own kids do their own little recitation at home, no big deal. Did you respond to your admonitory email?

  2. I taught the pledge to my son, but we don't recite it every day. I figured it's sort of a basic piece of cultural knowledge in our country, and it would be odd not to know it since pretty much everyone you come across does... but I did teach him the original version without "Under God"!