Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fifth Grade

My son, Jeffery, "graduated" from fifth grade yesterday. I don't remember having a "graduation" ceremony when I was socially promoted to sixth grade, but it may have happened. At first I thought it was kind of a silly idea, but anything that allows me to dote on my son a little more is cool with me. While I was sitting in the crowd watching, two things happened that really struck me and I thought I would write about them here (you know, because everyone gets a random thought in their head and runs write to the internet to "blog" about it...I'm an arrogant pig).

First, when I was in fifth grade I stopped saying "god" in the Pledge of Allegiance. It caught the attention of the teacher, who promptly sent me to the office and my parents were called in. I've covered this in a previous entry. I've NEVER told Jeffery this story. But yesterday during the Pledge, I watched him take his hand from his heart and place it over his mouth during the "under god" part. WOW!!! I mean, I know I'm his co-creator, but I thought that only meant he had a 50/50 shot of turning out fat and ugly. I was surprised, not only that he did it, but that he did it with much more style and "grace" than I did. I started getting real animated after a few days of not saying the word, trying to draw attention to myself. Not him. It wasn't a cry for attention, just a private statement he was was perfect. We talk about religion and science and he knows how I feel about them, but I've always told him that he should form his own opinions as he gets older. Looks like maybe that time is now.

The other thing that really got me was a fellow classmate of his. One student from each class got up to give a short, prepared remark about their time at the school. One of the students (I don't remember her name...and even if I did I wouldn't post it here) was a young girl from a Muslim family. She gave a nice speech about how she had struggled with math and the teachers had helped her improve. She also mentioned that she wanted to be a doctor when she got older. All of these things were said with her hair uncovered and styled. She was also wearing a leopard print dress that came down to about her knee. The freedom that she has here to wear clothes that she likes and to dream of becoming whatever she wants (freedoms she may not be able to have in the Middle East)...that's something for all of us to celebrate. I so often ramble on about the lack of freedom that we have in our country (think drug war, gay marriage, etc...IT STILL CAN GET BETTER), but it was nice to be reminded that, in so many important ways, we really are a free nation.

That's it...all I got. My kid is heading to middle school...I'm getting older (and fatter). I am contemplating a return to volleyball to get myself back into shape. More on that in another post. Congratulations Jeffery!!! Your dad loves you, more than you know.

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