Teaching Children War

Jon Letman describes how militarism has seeped into our society and culture, event the “Scholastic News” that his second grade son brings home from school.  He asks profound questions about how our society has become so militarized and what it means for our future.

With teaching materials like this, is it any wonder the U.S. is full of people who tacitly, if not enthusiastically, support American global militarism and waging wars in foreign countries? Many Americans might ask, “what’s wrong with teaching children about a U.S. holiday like Veterans Day?”

I suggest that this is just one example of how our society, often in subtle and seemingly benign ways, “soft-primes” children into a culture that glorifies and institutionalizes war as a pillar of patriotism, worthy of pride and respect, while ignoring, or sensationalizing the inevitable violence in ways utterly divorced from reality.

[…]

This criticism is not about a teacher, a school or the material produced by Scholastic Publishing. It’s a recognition that our society is saturated in an undercurrent of militarism and weaponry, both domestically and internationally, a phenomenon which permeates our national character deeper than mere mind-set or philosophy. It is who we are and what we turn our children into.

But really, is this the best we can offer them?

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