Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Pledge

Connor left school early on Tuesday to go to a doctor's appointment. His teacher packed up his homework for him, which included an item or two that he would miss during the regular day. I have no idea if the following assignment was going to be completed in class, or if it was meant to be brought home and discussed. I'm guessing our discussion at home diverged from what would have taken place in the classroom.

The assignment was to draw a picture of yourself saying the pledge of allegiance, and then to complete the following sentence. "I say the Pledge of Allegiance because...". I'm sure I don't even need to fill in what Connor wrote, because most of you can probably guess - because it's the exact same thing you're thinking RIGHT NOW. But I'll tell you the story anyway.

As I walked Connor home from soccer practice afternoon, I told Connor about his assignment. I asked him if he knew what the Pledge of Allegiance was. He dutifully recited it for me. Then I asked him if he knew what it meant.


OK - so let's discuss.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag" 

So you're promising something - making a pledge. You're promising allegiance, so you're promising to be loyal. You're pledging that you'll support something - in this case, a flag. What do you think the flag stands for?

"Our country" you're promising to be loyal to our country - which is pretty much what the next set of words affirms.

"I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United State of America. And to the republic for which it stands"

Right - so that's just saying the group of states, the country that you're promising to be loyal to is the United States. And then there's that part about liberty. Do you know what liberty is?


Yes. Do you know what one of the great freedoms we have in the United States? We can criticize our country. We can stand up and tell people we think the government isn't doing the best job it can. Some people, including me, think that this means we really care about our government. Can you pledge your allegiance to the country and disagree?

"Yes." why do you say the pledge? 

"Because I support the United States"

Yes - even though that doesn't mean you have to like everything the United States does. So tonight when you're with Dad, you can write that you say the pledge because you support our country.

Then we came home and ate dinner together. I told Ed about the assignment. He predictably rolled his eyes. I told him Connor and I had already talked, and Connor had an answer about supporting the country.

When I got home I looked over the assignment.

"I say the Pledge of Allegiance BECAUSE MY TEACHER MAKES ME".

Yes, yes, that's probably true. Stay tuned for the teacher's response. 


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