Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Pledge of Allegiance


I might be the parent who actually hinders her child's education by assisting in her learning.

On our drive to Grandpa's Katie and I passed a forest of about fifty American flags on the side of the highway, next to a sign stating, "Happy Veteran's Day!" Katie began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

"Wow, Sweetie. I can't believe you've already memorized the Pledge since school started."

Katie shrugged it off, excited to have my undivided attention so she could quiz me, "Do you know what indivisible means?"

This is her thing lately. Whenever she learns a new word at school, Katie tests me to see if I know it too.

I play along. "What does indivisible mean?"

"Indivisible means the people in this nation are going to disappear!" She contorted her face like a silent film star staring at the impending train barrelling down the tracks she's tied to.

"I think you're thinking of the word 'invisible.'"

"Oooooh." She sighed, clearly relieved her fellow citizens are not going to up and disappear one day. "What's indivisible mean?"

"Um. Uh. Indivisible means we're not divided." Oh how I hate to lie to my child. My country feels more divided now than it did when I was a kid when we were still fighting in Vietnam. Making up this whole mess about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy already makes my maternal guilt pang. I don't need to be telling her lies about our country too.

"What that mean?" She wasn't giving up.

"It means we're going to work together to find ways to make this country a better place to live."

I didn't have the heart to tell her what the word "propaganda" means.