Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
At this current moment, I only have one child (currently baking another). Hallie is two years old and although she will be eligible for pre-school next year, I likely won’t be sending her. I’m choosing to homeschool for the pre-k and potentially kindergarten years, depending on how long we are living in the United States.
I’ll also say that this is entirely dependent on us moving to England as planned and the next child not driving me absolutely insane. I’m a flexible mom with realistic expectations, and I have no issues changing my mind. I’ll say that I’m not restricting her from US education simply because of the Pledge of Allegiance. I just think that if she will be attending a UK school, she should have a UK foundation that I can provide at home.
The point is, Hallie does come into circumstances where she is expected to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance: the play center we go to, local sporting events, and the like. Regardless, Hallie does not have to stand if she doesn’t want to. Why? Because as a citizen of this country, she doesn’t have to. Neither do I, and neither do you.
I can already hear the cries of how disrespectful I am to my country. I am incredibly proud of those who have served and many of my own family are veterans, but they fought for my right to choose. And if you want my honest opinion? The Pledge of Allegiance is creepy. It’s not like we recite it with passion on school mornings. It drones with eye rolls and tired yawns as children prepare for school days that teach them nothing. There are no discussions about why we chant to a flag each morning, swearing loyalty to our country. It’s weird. The only other developed country to do such a thing was Nazi Germany.
Hallie is also a dual citizen. She has rights to the UK as well. So should she be singing God Save the Queen immediately after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, just to cover her bases? Can you swear allegiance to more than one country? Certainly opens up a discussion doesn’t it?
As a very privileged citizen of both America and the UK, Hallie has a choice and her siblings will have the same. Hallie will know how lucky she was to have been born in her position and she will acknowledge the sacrifice people have made for the freedoms she has. But Hallie will not be indoctrinated. None of my children will believe that they have to do anything simply “because I said so” or because a teacher said so.
Citing a few words every morning promises nothing. You can’t guarantee that my child will live and die for this country simply because she says the Pledge of Allegiance, nor will she automatically love the Queen of England if we watch enough BBC.
I will teach Hallie about both her countries of origin the same way she will learn about people.
Respect is earned.
Right now, neither America or England are shining examples of what a respectful first-world country should be acting like. I won’t even go into the current horrors of what is happening within the Trump Administration and sad fact that the Civil War never truly ended. But America was founded entirely because people questioned leadership. So why would I want my child raised to obey leadership regardless of its stance?
Nah. If Hallie wants to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, she is more than welcome. But she has a choice. Hallie and her siblings will always have that choice, because that is how you raise kids with awareness of a diverse world.
America is where she was born, and it is ripe with opportunity and privilege. But America also has problems, and the UK is not perfect either. I won’t convince her this is the best country in the world and that loyalty should be sworn. Loyalty is first to her family, herself, and her beliefs.
Time to earn the respect of my children, America. That is where loyalty begins, and my children will decide for themselves where allegiance should be pledged.