My son is ultra-patriotic. He doesn't insist on wearing flag pins every day and cry during the National Anthem or anything but he does have an unusual five-year-old fondness for the Grand 'Ol Flag. We have a reward system in our house in which the kids are given a ticket for completing a household chore. One ticket earns them one half hour of television viewing or one half hour of computer time. If they manage to save up five tickets, they earn $3 toward the item of their choice and, if they save up 10 tickets, they get to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Recently, my son saved five tickets and asked to go to Target (yes, I've trained them well) to pick out an item. We went and he picked out, of all of the glorious things in the Dollar Spot, an American flag. Even though I tend to have my own agenda about what my kids should want, I try to let them make the decisions.
I paid for his flag and took it out of the cellophane package. He waved it back and forth, staring at the stars and stripes with a smile, the whole way home. When we got home and I found a moment to sit down, my son informed me that we had a new rule now that he had his American flag. This is what he said:
Whenever I walk into the living room holding the American flag, you have to stop what you're doing and say the Pledge of Allegiance with me.
And so we did. He came into the room three or four times, waving the flag and I stopped folding laundry or dusting to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with him. The whole process cracked me up but I did get tired of saying the Pledge after the third time. There is something to be said, however, for repetitive Pledging of the flag. The process accomplished an unexpected feat when it actually managed to abate my post Mess-o-potamia (thank you Jon Stewart) cynicism a bit. I've even found myself humming It's a Grand Ol' Flag at random times during the day. I haven't started cloggin' it out yet but I'm close. I'm real close. It won't be long before I don my patriotic clogging duds and crank out a little Patriotic Medley in the kitchen, just for the heck of it.