As the world changes from generation to generation, so does the curriculum that is taught in our public school system, in the quest of instilling adequate knowledge in our children. Due to legal battles fought over issues such as school prayer, sex education and other “hot” topics, educators are often hamstrung as to what theories can be taught that are politically correct, with no threat of backlash. Among those, Patriotism has fallen by the wayside, and it’s importance in the history of our country and development of our culture are not fully understood or appreciated by a majority of our youth, due to no fault of their own. Our public school system has failed them miserably in refusing to recognize the impact of Patriotism as a tool to learn from the past, and to feel good about who we are collectively with an eye toward the future.
Somehow in the so-called advancement of the educational system, the word patriotism seems to currently only apply to individuals who have participated in military actions, either past or present. Lost from the knowledge that our young people receive from the public school systems are the contributions of countless others who have never served in the military, but have contributed greatly to the freedoms we all cherish that make the United States the global leader of democracy and individual rights. Statesmen, educators, volunteers and hundreds of other sectors of society have all contributed to advancing the American way of life, and the appreciation of their tireless endeavors are not recognized adequately in our schools.
This is not to minimize the contributions of our military personnel, the guardians of our freedoms who risk their lives without expectations of gratitude. However there remains a need to explain to our young people how the whole concept of Patriotism fits together, to make the United States the great nation that it is. While lesson plans concerning well-known figures like Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy are valuable, they barely scratch the surface in the quest to impart upon our young people a sense of national pride and accomplishment that does not make an individual a separatist, just someone that is proud of their national heritage.
The world is getting smaller everyday – communication and open dialog between nations has never been more popular. Perhaps it appears as an arrogant attitude when viewed globally to be Patriotic, but without it we lose the identity that makes America stand out as a democracy.