Children love to sing. Over the years in my classroom a favorite song always emerges; “God Bless America”. The tune is nice and the words are simple for children to sing. I bring all types of music into my classroom. I sing all the time, even sitting on the long bench in the bathroom (that’s a favorite with children). Usually I’m rhyming away with “Down By the Bay” or making children ‘jump and turn around’ with “Uncle Jesse”. I play record albums of Handel and Mozart and the Beatles. Music and singing is everywhere.
So, why is it that children love to sing “God Bless America”? I think it is far more than the tune or the words. When we sing a patriotic song we talk about ‘presence’, how important it is to stand tall and proud. We learn how to put our right hand over our heart. That’s an event in itself, finding our right hand and also where the heart is in our body! We talk about respect, and how singing for our country should be respectful. Children embrace this. Somehow they feel empowered, or perhaps prideful. It’s as if they somehow know there is something bigger or more important to be singing about — a meaning or purpose behind the words. They simply love this song.
Milly the quilter loves this song, too. She has been under the weather lately, so the children wanted to sing “God Bless America” and make this video for her. Milly has worked with my class to make magnificent quilts that hang in museums, including a God Bless America quilt that hangs at the Fisher House in Boston. Hats off to you, Milly! We’re on another wonderful quilting journey this year with the children. It is a Peace Quilt, based on what children think peace looks like. First we wrote a poem of their thoughts, then turned the poem into a book, and now into a quilt. Stayed tuned as the quilting evolves. We already have the sketch drawn.