If you haven’t heard, the Canadian National Anthem is changing to be more gender-inclusive.
More specifically, the National Anthem says “O Canada! / Our home and native land! / True patriot love in all thy sons command”.
The new bill changes the phrase “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.”
As you can imagine, there has been much political debate about this.
Normally Learning Lotuses doesn’t write politically-based pieces. But this time, it is directly related to education and what and how we teach our children.
Let me just say it- I agree with the changes to the National Anthem.
They were there. Women, transgender individuals, those who are gender-fluid, gender non-binary, gender non-conforming, and those who have another gender preference. They were all there.
**For the purposes of this post, I will use the term “they” to include those individuals listed above.
Providing supplies to the soldiers, preparing food for them to eat, nursing them back to health when they were wounded. Taking care of their families at home while men were away fighting. Working as spies or munition workers. And yes, fighting those front lines, disguised as men.
And those who didn’t fight likely didn’t fight because they were not allowed, not because they didn’t want to. For example, women were not allowed to fight in war until the end of World War I. But now they are. And they do.
Where do people think they went when war happened? DId they disappear off the face of the earth? Float around in space for a while until war was over and then came back down?
No. They were there.
Growing up, we sang the National Anthem every morning at school. I never liked singing in school. I was always embarrassed to sing in front of other people.
But I did it. Because I believed it to be right. Because my teachers told me it was right.
Now I’m embarrassed I ever sang it. Now I’m more educated about war, the rights and non-rights of women and those with other gender preferences, the fight that these groups have had (and still) put up.
When I was a child, I didn’t know that I was only paying homage to the men who fought in war. I didn’t know I was excluding a vast majority of those who played a major part in war. I was told by my teachers to sing the song, that it was patriotic. So I did.
Now, there is a part of me that feel guilty about it.
There is also a part of me that knows that I was too young to know better. And a part of me that knows that it is a good thing that I am now educating myself on important topics. But there is still a part of me that feels guilty for only paying recognizing certain people all those years.
EVERYONE is affected by war. And EVERYONE deserves to be recognized.
It matters what we teach our kids. The language we use, the songs we sing. They matter. They teach our kids about inclusivity, empathy, and protecting the rights and recognition of others. However subtle language can be, it makes huge impacts.
They have always been a part of war, always a part of our history. They have just never been recognized before now. To disagree with the change to the National Anthem is to say that you do not believe they should be recognized for their service to our country. How patriotic is that?
Changing the National Anthem doesn’t change history. But it does change our future. To one that is inspiring, inclusive, and where everyone will feel as though they belong.