Patriotism should be avoided in school lessons because British history is “morally ambiguous”, a leading educational body recommends.
Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded.
Three quarters of teachers felt obliged to tell students about the danger of patriotism. The survey suggested neither pupils nor teachers wanted patriotism endorsed by schools.
The institute - part of the University of London – asked nearly 300 pupils aged 13 to 14, and 47 teachers, in 20 London schools, how patriotism should be handled. About 94 per cent of teachers and 77 per cent of teenagers said that schools should give a balanced presentation of opposing views. Fewer than 10 per cent felt patriotism should be actively promoted.
Why such a dogmatic refusal to acknowledge the good as well as the bad? Why such stark dismissal of the repentance, of the atonement, of the change for the better that underscores so much of British history? Why don't they want to see the good along with the bad..?
Why the blind determination to leave the sins of the past unforgiven?
“Forgiveness” doesn’t mean we ignore a bad choice, or pretend that the bad choice doesn’t matter; to forgive is to act like something matters more. To never forgive is to live in the past, to freeze our life into a wax figure tableau representing a single moment, perpetuating the time we were sinned against. To forgive doesn’t mean living within an illusion, or being blind to the past… it means living for the future. What will get us beyond the moment of pain, of failure, of resentment? Forgiveness is fully seeing the sin, and reconciling to it.
If I am unwilling or unable to forgive others, is that merely an excuse to avoid facing judgment myself, being held to account for my own choices and decisions?
If a person doesn't believe that their country can become a better place, what might that say about their own beliefs about themselves? Is a person capable of improvement, or not? Are we really no different, at twenty, at thirty, at forty, than we were at the age of thirteen..? If an individual can learn from experience, why not a nation of individuals as well?
The teachers and I agree on one point: children should be taught that love requires clarity, honesty, and humility. Love is not about lying, Love is not blind, Love is the opposite: true, faithfully persistent commitment to seeing things as they really are. The hard part is that this involves seeing the unseen, seeing into the future, penetrating a cloud of doubts in order to affirm that we can learn from experience, that we can progress... we are not animals, we are Human.
The gurgling little baby in our arms can someday learn to give shape to his dreams, that he is capable of growing to see his own mistakes, in order to learn from them, maybe even some day appreciating the gift of free will that allows him to choose good as readily as evil..
...so that choosing good can be seen as the treasured blessing that it really is.