Who taught you civics? I know. You’re thinking, “Who cares!” I was introduced to a study of the American form of government in junior high, but my education in American traditions began in kindergarten and was a normal part of every school day in the life of our nation until recent years.
Civics has always been a favorite subject of mine. Summer school was boring but essential if you wanted to carry a full academic curriculum. So, I managed to move the high school football coach off the required subject of health and safety to talk about the political conventions during those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer that year. The rest of the class did a collective yawn but civics and politics seemed preferable to health and safety with the coach for 2 hours.
Today’s students are rarely introduced to civics. Somehow it has been edged out by the competition of politically correct classes.
Such a pity.
What subject do you use in your everyday life more than knowing and understanding how government works? How about patriotism? No offense, but trig and calc have never been at the top of the most useful applications in my everyday life. I can say I passed those classes (barely!) but that’s about it. They helped expand my learning capacity and taught me discipline and logic. Once I got the parchment and tassel, I went on to other pursuits.
Who will teach your children (or grandchildren) civics education that is rooted in the foundations of our country? You are the best teacher they have! If they aren’t learning it in school, what do you do to encourage an understanding of American holidays? American wars? Voting? The American form of government? Patriotic songs? The Pledge of Allegiance? The philosophers whom our Founders studied? These elements of education are not passe’ as you may be led to believe. When students have a basic civics education, they learn to understand the world around them and their place in it. They connect to the American heritage.
When my children were little, we sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag” as we marched around the house, with flags, of course. When I helped to homeschool my grandson for a year, we included Americana songs in our school day. Whenever there was a federal holiday, I quizzed my kids on the meaning of that day off of school. Politics and news were discussed in our home. My son jokingly says that if he wanted a peanut butter sandwich, he had to leave his toys and Mr. Rogers to come into the kitchen where the news was being broadcast and the food was being served.
As an adult, I teach a course called “The American View of Law and Government” in my home and at a local homeschool co-op. These are things I can do to fill the void that was left when civics and citizenship education with American patriotism gradually disappeared from the school day.
You and I can’t change all but we can set an example for some. Consider the benefits of an education that includes basic civics and citizenship. Then, pass it on. That’s common sense civics and citizenship.