I'm at a conference in LA, and Friday evening my younger daughter Yael and I did a presentation to a small group on my project Operation Support Jews in the Military. Then yesterday afternoon I gave a shorter presentation to elementary-age children.
The experience talking to the children was very revealing. A couple of the older boys (11 and 12) had a good understanding of the U.S. military. The rest of the boys and girls had little or no knowledge of anything about the U.S. military.
And at the same time I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's third book -- OUTLIERS. I've just read the chapter about how important the family environment is for the fostering of practical intelligence -- such as how to negotiate with a college professor on changing the time a student takes that professor's class.
Recently I read something about how military families are taking on more and more of the responsibilities of a standing militia while much of the rest of America takes no part.
Putting all of the above together, here's what I'd like to suggest:
Teaching about the U.S. military and its branches today be part of 5th or 6th grade required curriculum throughout the U.S. -- just as learning U.S. history is a required school subject at some point in a student's school career.
Military families pass on commitment to serving one's country -- and they also pass on an understanding of what the military is about. If no one ever teaches you (per Gladwell) about the military, you are unlikely to ever consider joining the military as a viable option.
If we want a strong America supported by a strong standing militia, then our schools need to teach practical intelligence about the U.S. military's mission and opportunities.
What do you think about this proposed curriculum requirement?