Tuesday, 2 November 2010

National Pledge in Schools?

12th Feb 2008....

This idea has been all over the news in SA today as Parliament is going to debate the issue tomorrow. The thinking is that if schoolchildren recite a pledge of devotion to their country, as the Americans do every day at assembly, then we shall foster feelings of unity and tolerance etc. through a commonly-felt national pride. An idealistic thought but a step in the right direction. The question on eveyone’s lips is what should the wording be? How do we not offend anyone’s culture or religion? Fortunately, a lot of the good stuff is common to most religions cf some of the 10 commandments viz. ‘Thou shalt not steal’, ‘Honour thy parents,’ ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife’ and a few more. The need to be charitable and assist the poor comes up a lot so we should have a lot of common ground to dig over. When I was at school circa forty years ago in England, it was assumed that the majority of children were Church of England, so we had assembly every day with a hymn, a prayer and a reading. We always recited the Lord’s prayer, which to me, made it a trifle boring albeit comforting in a mindless sort of way. The few Jewish and Catholic pupils were excused and had their own religious meetings in classrooms. I wonder if all that has changed today along with nourishing school dinners? The demographics of England have changed as much as anywhere else. A few years ago, there was huge outrage because Moslem parents were objecting to their Primary School’s annual Nativity play. One mother who phoned into the radio this morning, pointed out that such pious messaging might fall on stony ground, considering the cult of gangsterism and drugs in many of our schools. Still, you have to start somewhere. To again quote my wise Afrikaans mother-in-law: “Plak it thick and some will stick.” PS... 2010 - no conclusions were achieved and the idea was dropped


  1. We have a saying that we picked up somewhere: "You can please ALL of the people SOME of the time and SOME of the people ALL of the time, but you can't please ALL of the people ALL of the time!" The problem I see here in my part of the world, is that the handful of people that object to something are the ones that get their way, even though the vast majority disagrees.
    I think a good pledge that should be adopted world wide is based on the Golden Rule: "I pledge to treat others the way I would like to be treated, no exceptions!" Unfortunately, mankind in general just doesn't seem to be cut out to be nice to one another.

  2. If only we could live as you say. But it's a good rule - even if we have to keep reminding ourselves when we yell at someone.