One little boy was running late for Kindergarten last week, but before he walked in the building, he suddenly stopped, dropped his head and began reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" followed by a prayer.
At first, the Texas mother was unsure what her 5-year-old son was doing, but once she found out, she quickly snapped a photo, posted it to Facebook, and now it's going viral.
"I was about four cars back, so I just saw him standing there with what looked like him just looking at his shoes," Heather Nelson told WDAF-TV. "But that did not seem like Royce."
Moments after noticing her child in the unfamiliar position, she asked the officer stationed at the entrance of the school what he was doing. "Mom, he’s doing good, he stopped for the 'Pledge of Allegiance,'" she recalled the guard saying, placing her hand over her heart to demonstrate what Royce was doing.
In the caption that accompanied the picture Nelson posted on Facebook, the mother wrote that, since prayer is not allowed in schools, her son often "says a little prayer silently and that’s exactly what he was doing."
"I was so proud that he stopped when the Pledge of Allegiance came and stood his ground and did not move as the other kids were going in and then took time out and prayed and did not even care or think twice about it," Royce's mom wrote. "This is such a beautiful picture."
For many, the child's simple gesture was a powerful encouragement.
One commenter wrote, "Oh my gosh, this brought tears to my eyes." In response, Nelson said, "Me and you both...I am still smiling."
"Good job, Heather, for instilling what is important to your children and them showing the respect this country & God deserves," another wrote.
Royce's "Gwanma" even commented on the Facebook post, saying she and his "Paw Paw" are "so proud" of him.
Later in the day, when she picked up her small son from school, Nelson asked him why he chose to do what he did. Royce offered a simple reply: "Duh, mom. It's what you're supposed to do."
Nelson later went to the officer to make sure Royce's story checked out. As it turns out, the decision to stop, bow his head, recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" and pray was all his.
"I am so proud of him," she said.
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