A Compromise for Prayer in Public School

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I have seen a lot of placards and discussion in Facebook lately about prayer in public schools.  This subject is a bit controversial and I don’t mean to offend anyone.  Please read the entire article before labeling me a jerk.

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I am a firm believer of separation of church and state.  I do not think there should any hint anywhere that our government supports religion of any sort.  The entire idea is exclusive.  Nonbelievers are citizens also and to have their government support a religion or even the idea of religion would exclude them from being part of their own country.

That being said I don’t see the harm in a moment of silence at the beginning of a school day.  In fact, I would suggest that it is taken a step further.  I think there should be a moment of silence at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, and there is a logical reason for it that has nothing to do with religion.

In martial arts we open and close the class with what we call meditation.  It is not designed for prayer, though no one can tell what a person does when they are silently meditating.   The purpose of this is to separate the class time, in the minds of the students, from the rest of their day.  It is time to have them put aside all of the things that fill their minds in their busy lives and to focus on martial arts.

I think it would be beneficial for children, especially young children, to have psychological lines drawn that separate home time and play time from school time.  I think it would be good to give them a moment to focus and to prepare for learning.  Calling it a moment of silence always gets someone to scream about prayer in school because there seemed to be no reason for this moment of silence other than pray.  I believe this is a reason and a good one.

There is a lot of chaos in schools in the morning and it takes time for kids to settle down.  I think this would help, especially young children, learn that there is a time to play and a time to learn.  In a world that seems to place no value on self-discipline, we can use something that reminds our kids, tough learning can be fun, that  learning is serious business and that it is their future that is being formed in their days at school.   The new focus just may show up as better grades for some kids.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Opinion, Social Issues
One comment on “A Compromise for Prayer in Public School
  1. Damyanti says:

    I don’t remember what prayer we said in school, but I remember the ritual of the assembly, and how it made me think of the day’s business of learning. I think some kind of ritual, whether religious or not, provides a structure for kids.

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