They don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance in the classrooms. It’s a complaint you hear now and then.
At a recent graduation there was no patriotic music, nor any benediction. You know, the part where the minister or priest starts the whole thing with some prayer.
Folks go to wakes and funerals in churches and then pay no attention that something spiritual was going on.
And you hear the cries: ” This generation doesn’t care.”
Well, one wonders who “this generation” is, and where it learned its manners.
The truth is “this generation” is not too different from the last one, the one before that, and on and on…
At the graduation my initial reaction was disappointment in the fact there was nothing patriotic, much less anything spiritual.
But after some thought it dawned on me that those things have (sadly) become mere rituals— basically meaningless, except to a few individuals.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I like the changes, but something far more important is going on.
The truth is that most benedictions, through political correctness, have become watered down incantations. In an effort not to offend anyone, they are rendered meaningless, worthless– a whole lot of nothing.
And forcing students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class means little to most. One does not automatically become patriotic by uttering the words.
Look at our national past-time. Baseball opens with the Star Spangled Banner. Sure, that means a lot to some folks, but to many others it means nothing. It causes no reflection on how fortunate we are to live in this great country, or the sacrifices made to keep us free. Free to go to a ball-game on a nice summer night. Could be a whole lot worse.
Same with prayer in schools. Nice thought, but those who want to pray already do so. No special time needs to be set aside. If we force it, does it mean anything? Does it automatically make our students holy, religious, caring— anything?
The rituals are worthless, feel-good things, unless they come from the heart.
Hearts and souls hungry for patriotism and the spiritual will demand actions and devotions and rituals that reflect their values. Then, they will be very meaningful and special.
Passed from generation to generation, and a truth from the beginning of time is Pride– self-centered egoism. It is the pre-mordial sin, and the seed of all other wrongs. It’s the belief that one must constantly seek pleasure, and do whatever one wants. It’s all about me, myself and I. And, it is totally destructive.
The idea of self-sacrifice is anathema, yet it is the foundation of real,true love.
It should be no surprise that most in all generations fail to appreciate the sacrifices of those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom, or take a highly indifferent attitude toward the spiritual, where the greatest story of sacrifice was told.
Mere recitation of the pledge is not enough. It is not some sort of cure-all. It is a problem that cuts much deeper; a problem of the heart.
Like the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game, or prayer in school.
What about ” in sickness and in health?” Yes, marriage too and the promises that bind us are no longer seen as a commitment, but merely words.
Sickening, self-interested and self-centered behavior is rampant. And it is part of the human condition.
In the injury law business I get to see a lot of folks who sacrifice for others, and it is refreshing.
In fact, it is inspiring.
So while this blog may seem like a whole lot of bitching about the human condition, it is not. The fact is that, while none of us comes close to perfection in the self-sacrificial arena, many manage to do the job. There are a lot of folks who get it right– at least some of the time.
The old move Brian’s Song about the Chicago Bear ( Brian Piccolo I believe), had it right–” I am third.”
Yet all of us at one time or another & to some degree or another, live our lives as if to say— “I am first.”
They don’t do a lot of things the way they used to, and when we can all do a better job at self-sacrifice, we will do things better, and really mean it.
Thanks for reading these rambling thoughts.
More street-side philosophy from your local injury lawyer.
Keep your strength.