Monday, March 19, 2012

God Bless the USA, by Lilly Sherman

Every morning, my sweet girl gets to school, goes straight to the gym, and gets into line with her class. Each grade, from the 3 year olds to the 8th graders, are lined up just like her pre-K class. The principal stands in the front and asks for announcements from the students - anything from birthdays to teeth falling out to new shoes to upcoming vacations. After a few minutes, the kids all bow their heads to pray, followed by the pledge of allegiance, and a patriotic song, which changes each month. Finally the teachers make a few announcements and a child is picked to tell a joke of the day. The children then walk out, grade by grade, to their classroom.

This morning routine is exactly what I wanted for my girl. Sometimes she gets overwhelmed - standing for 10-20 minutes is a long time, and sometimes it's hard to pay attention.

But standing with her friends and the school and many of the parents as a community, listening to the kids share special moments of their lives, watching everyone pray together, and seeing the entire school - no matter what each individual's political beliefs - be thankful that we live in such a great country, is beyond touching. Aside from my morning cup of coffee (which I gave up for just the first trimester), it's the best start to the day.

This month, the patriotic song is Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." First day I heard it, I flash backed to being a girl scout and singing it around the campfire. Then I remembered how cheesy it is. And on the second day, something changed.

The kids came up with signs to go along with this song. And they started letting some of the kids go up to the front to perform it, in front of the school, while everyone else sings and signs along with their classes. An enthusiastic Lilly is picked every day (or, she volunteers herself and doesn't take no for an answer, not sure which is the case). But each day she is up in front of a few hundred people (in the spotlight, where she thrives), singing her heart and soul out, about how proud she is to be an American, where at least she knows she's free, and she won't forget the men that died that gave that right to her. It's a sight to see, and I couldn't be more proud.

It reaffirms to me, each morning, that we are in the right place now. What more could a mom ask for, than raising a happy, positive, religious, patriotic, appreciative little girl?

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