By Teressa Maria Cervera / Attorney
My son is an avid sports enthusiast, which I fully support. He recently asked me to explain why some professional athletes have refused to stand for the National Anthem. He does not follow social media; so his real query was the reason why some athletes refused to respect the American Flag. Admittedly, it is hard to understand and interpret the behavior of another particularly when you object to that behavior. Likewise, it is even harder to try to explain it. Instead, we talked about why we should respect the Flag, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance.
I asked him and his sister to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which they did flawlessly. However, after the final verse, my kids continued in unison without pause saying “Please remain standing as we have a moment of silent meditation.” My stomach dropped at the realization that my children believe that a call to silent mediation is a part of the Pledge. In their minds, this mandate became incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance after daily broadcasts every morning in their classrooms. I asked them to show me what “silent mediation” meant. They both stood up and started shifting in an impatient dance. They offered no explanation but described their classmates silently making faces or fidgeting impatiently awaiting the follow-up announcement.
For children in today’s America, the freedoms and principles on which America was founded are being eroded. The most important part of the Pledge of Allegiance is overshadowed by an involuntary mandate, which children do not even understand. The current version of the Pledge of Allegiance as codified in 1954 concludes as follows: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The meaning behind these very important words is contradicted by what occurs in the classrooms immediately after. In my opinion, the call to engage in silent meditation is an extreme and unlikely aspiration for a group of energetic schoolchildren. Additionally, the mandate to silent meditation completely ignores the existence of God as noted in the Pledge of Allegiance.
As an attorney, I fully appreciate the separation of church and state. I also believe that balance is an essential element of the right to education. In my conversation with my children, they both concluded that the moment of silent meditation is an opportunity to start their day with prayer. Both kids agreed that saying “Our Father” would be a better use of time than fidgeting with their zippers while counting down the minutes until lunch.
I would prefer if children were given options rather than a single mandate. The suggestion to pray should be presented as an alternative to silence or meditation. The following week, my daughter reported that she was praying “Our Father” during silent meditation but refused to fold her hands in prayer position because she feared her friends would question her. I told her to try it and see what happens. As parents, my husband and I place a strong emphasis on the need to act independently without fear of public pressure. As a mom, I can see how kids in America are vulnerable pawns under attack. They are being groomed to be human shields for an activist agenda that endeavors to keep the powerful in place through silence submission and quiet compliance. The indoctrination occurring at the lowest reaches of society preys on the innocent, the weak, and the vulnerable.
This hidden activism is becoming increasingly visible through the erosion of cultural norms over time. There is a movement taking place that controls behavior through fear and manipulates the natural response in favor of complicit silence. Here, silent meditation is the control mechanism. In many cases, those who make the “rules” at the top are not subjected to the application of the rules at the bottom. Powerful people can aim at subjects in which they have no vested interest in the outcome. When there is no other motivation, the only objective is self-preservation.
When it comes to children, education, and American values, the use of power is not being applied for the benefit of the subject. Meditation should not be a mandate and surely NOT at the expense of prayer. A balanced education needs to present options including alternate theories and opposing viewpoints in order to achieve balance. Children can be presented with numerous safe options and given the choice between these options. I believe that my children can be taught the benefits of meditation and the value of a pause in silence as a part of a balanced education. However, they should also be offered the option to pray. The mere suggestion of balanced options does not sanction a religious belief. However, the mandate to engage in silent meditation does impose a single worldview with no alternative. Likewise, a classroom culture that emphasizes meditation and values silence should NOT discourage prayer. This incident was by no means the first time that one of my children was afraid or confronted in school because of their religious convictions.
I care about what occurs in America’s classrooms because I am a mother. I have a vested interest in my children, their future, and their hope for America. I do not want to oversee my children’s education, but religion is one of many American freedoms that are under attack. Most religions of the world emphasize the development of a moral compass from which to discern what is right and just. That same moral compass often compels action in the face of injustice. I can see how easily children are influenced and I can feel how vulnerable they are to the erosion of our culture, religion, and freedoms. I can also see how children are targeted, persuaded, and influenced based on the concepts that they pick up in the world and bring home. Children are easy targets because they do not know better yet. My daughter is not yet reading but she has been primed to understand that silent meditation is a part of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The very fabric of the nation is being slowly and methodically torn apart to serve a hidden agenda. Our nation’s children are the foot soldiers in a war that is unseen. Children need to be protected because they are the hope for our future. Our children need a strong moral compass guided by the American values which are intimately intertwined with the history of America. The only way to protect children is by having a physical presence in their lives. Parents and caretakers must know enough about their children to find out where they are most vulnerable and reinforce their defenses. We must teach children to detect indoctrination by taking notice of the erosion of their freedoms. We must teach them to rely on their moral compass to act independently rather than to follow the automatic and robotic responses of those around them. Most importantly, we must take action to preserve those American values and the numerous freedoms that brought our ancestors to this country.
In order to do so, we must motivate ourselves to learn and understand what makes America great and how American values have helped our country endure. I have made the commitment to teach my children why their ancestors arrived in America, how they created a life here, and why they risked their lives at war for this nation. In the coming weeks, I will provide some of the ways I have learned to instill American values in my family. I would be honored to learn how you have taken steps to impart American values to your family.
Please contact me at TeressaMCervera@gmail.com.