God Bless America & Education

Happy 4th of July everybody!

Ah, I love the 4th of July!

So I’m totally the weirdo at church that gets teary-eyed every time we sing a patriotic song for a hymn. Like last Sunday I had to look down while we sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” because I love that song and was losing it. Didn’t really want people thinking “Oh that new mom’s hormones are going crazy right now”–I can’t blame everything on that. Patriotism just gets me all worked up. This post will hopefully be less of a ramble than I feel like it is, but I have so many thoughts in relation to this holiday that it is hard to not get disjointed.

I obviously think there are a lot of things in the American education system that desperately need improvement, but I would be a big fat liar if I didn’t say that I am SO grateful to live in this country and have the opportunities I do have.

Part of that stems from how much education has changed my life. “Knowledge is Power” always felt like more than just an inspirational sign in my classrooms growing up. Education helps me understand things in my life that would be difficult to otherwise, helps me appreciate the world around me, gives me the opportunity to see life from others’ viewpoints, and brings more empathy into my life. Things I (we all) need.

Which is why it breaks my heart that so many people do not have that opportunity/blessing/right/freedom.

UNESCO reports that as of 2012 there were 58 million primary school aged children not in school and 63 million lower secondary school aged children not in school. The United States has a little over 300 million people in it. Imagine over an entire third of our country just not being in school at all.

I don’t understand how a bunch of grown men can be so scared of a little girl that they’d find her on a bus and shoot her.

malala

It’s tragic that almost 300 girls can be kidnapped from their school and never rescued. School was a refuge for me in many ways and I can’t imagine how terrifying this has been for these girls and their families. If a stranger like me has cried over them, I wonder what they and their loved ones experience daily?

Unfortunately, there are countless examples of things like this for both boys and girls throughout the world. It’s hard to know how to help, but I believe everything we do to encourage education and learning in all aspects of life promotes change. My husband and I started a tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence  on the 4th and I love it. Reminds me of how brave our predecessors really were. As we consciously remember our past we can apply those values to our present and future and hopefully make an impact in the world. The 4th of July gives me hope for our future and in building a world where everyone can have the freedom that comes from education and knowledge.

jfk

In the midst of grilling, swimming and fireworks, make sure to find a way to spend at least a little time reflecting on the reason for this world-altering day!

 

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