To the Republic

With a puzzled look on his face, Justin, a sandy-colored hair cutie, asked, “How do people say the pledge in other towns?”

Like typical, I sought for clarification. “In what way would someone in a different town say the pledge, Justin?”

“Well, we say ‘to the Republic’ for which it stands because we live in Republic,” he muttered.

“Let me explain why “to the Republic” is for the whole country,” I replied, placing my arm around his shoulders (and giving the gigglers of the group my “hush look”).

Justin was a proud 2nd grade Republic Tiger in Republic, Missouri. Me? I was a proud mom and teacher. This was my 5th year teaching and I was feeling more settled in my roles.

“Hurry up and draw the stick Mrs. Snook!” Oh boy! The lucky one would be our pledge leader as we joined the entire school body for the morning pledge (heard over a loud intercom). Echoes of the voices in nearby classes would be heard. This morning routine continued in my career for many years.

Typical days in the classroom, immediately following the pledge, would begin with a morning message on the board (“Wheel of Fortune” style). Hands would go up to guess the letters to reveal my message of what they would learn that day (objectives in my paragraph form). For at least seven years this strategy worked in teaching kids the parts of a letter, the spelling of greetings and endings (back in the days of spelling instruction and actual letter writing), and most importantly, my love for them (“I love you” was always my closing).

Proudly during the course of a day I’d present lessons of our history. It wasn’t just the good stuff. And I’d share of its people and its grandeur (and I was young; barely had I experienced all the beauty and wonder I’d later enjoy). Later in my career, I could share stories of visiting many beautiful and wonderful states. Rubbing my curiosity off on the kids (not germs) was a daily goal; especially with knock-your-socks-off science experiments. We read as if our lives depended on it-and soaked in books all around! I’d encourage questioning, researching, and awareness. The days would end with class meetings to confirm our collaboration and tighten our tiny community. We didn’t have to agree or even understand what someone was sharing, but we were all respectful and active listeners (with eye contact too!).

There’s a clipping, tucked safely in my large tub of memorabilia, of an article I wrote published in the Springfield News-Leader (titled “Respect”) fall of ’97. I’m pictured kneeling on the carpet with a book in my hand, and Justin and the class scattered around me. We read and sang to the precious residents of a nearby senior center. They loved hearing the kids recite the pledge. It meant something. This was a cherished monthly event.

By the end of that school year Justin understood the words of the pledge. He continued to ask so many spectacular questions that year. He, and the others, taught me as much as I taught them about respect, community, problem-solving, understanding, hard work,…and love. Many revolutions have occurred since that year. The world keeps spinning and adding movements. I wonder what questions Justin might ask today.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Have faith ๐Ÿ’š

42 thoughts on “To the Republic

  1. You sound so much like my son’s 2nd grade teacher. She encouraged questions and critical thinking. I do believe that 2nd grade set them up for success in school! I don’t wonder because I have two sons (31 & 32) who are asking the questions… and there aren’t any easy answers.

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    1. Thatโ€™s so sweet to say. Thank you. We share something in common with two sons. 2nd grade is a wonderful year. But I have to say Middle School (other than my favorite year in 2nd) was my favorite time. I know my sons, grown as well, and the world in general, ๐Ÿค” may be asking a lot of questions. Iโ€™m sure my grandson and granddaughter will be asking many too in the future. Thereโ€™s so much to observe, absorb, and learn~and be your own learner and seeker.

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  2. Yes dear lady, that human element of human contact that teaches the art of being human in all its ways. So much (over here in Australia), has become sterile and pass, pass, pass, scores, scores, scores at all costs…but missing the point that yes, you will have a great mark…and that is exactly what will be expected throughout life…not understanding that failing is one of the most beautiful teachings there is. It is the only thing that will teach them an appreciation of those passes and scores so that a great empathy in all they do will underlay the attempt to climb to great heights and achieve with respect, humility and above all, that love that it builds in all we do.
    The plastic human that this world is building is beginning to crumble because it isn’t equipped to handle what is to come in balancing those parts that are missing…and the change will leave a scar….maybe too big a one to heal safely.
    I pray that the love all around does guide us truly and find that core within that needs to find the light and grow…gently and with guidance of one such as you โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿฆ‹

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    1. Mr. Mark! Iโ€™m so glad the gremlins didnโ€™t get your comments this time because I enjoy reading your thoughts. Youโ€™re in New Wales, correct? What you share became true here as well. As an administrator it seemed we had to focus so much on scores. Yet, in the heart of most educators Iโ€™ve ever known, itโ€™s about the heart as much as the knowledge. And we know where knowledge only can lead~…โ€not understanding that failing is one of the most beautiful teachings โ€œ-wonderful words. Itโ€™s true in my life. I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt that shared he never envied a human with an easy life. My daughter-in-law and I had a conversation last night about the world of looking down and how it impacts kids and adults now. The love and light you speak of can even come in forms of discipline balanced with grace. Itโ€™s freeing. And appreciated. I think fondly back to those who taught me, molded me, and ultimately, who disciplined me when I needed. Even as an adult! And that guide for me has the power now that no man can take away. I hope we can keep building this type of grit, with grace, in todayโ€™s youth. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’• youโ€™re a light to us! Thank you!

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      1. I live in the state of New South Wales, on the mid north coast suffering its sand, waves and cool breezes in our summer warmth at the moment. I’ll have a paddle in the warm water if you wish to alleviate a little of that coolness you are currently enjoying ๐Ÿ˜€
        And I too was amazed at no gremlins, allowing me to comment. Maybe it is the dawn of some lovely change ๐Ÿ˜€
        And it is great to hear that the ‘system’ has allowed those like yourself that will teach that ‘understanding’ regardless of their rules. I know that God has this way of ‘entering’ while the stumblers are trying to break down the door. May it ever be your guidance Karla, it isn’t until we ‘listen’ that our truth will indeed flow as it should. Your light has been found my friend and it will light a path regardless of where you tread. Many will try to blot it out but they don’t realise yet that it is like trying to stick the proverbial finger into the leak in the dam wall, it will only get bigger and bigger the more they try to stop it.
        Good luck with your journey dear lady, teaching is our next generation. May it be a beautiful heartfelt path. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜€ โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿฆ‹

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      2. Thank you, Mark. ๐Ÿ’šYouโ€™re an inspiration to many. That splash of warm water and the waves of the summer sound wonderful. My WP friend, Kate, is in Queensland (I believe). Weโ€™re in one large world ๐ŸŒŽ, yet connected by truth, love, and light. Thatโ€™s indeed how God designed this to be. Stay blessed and healthy. ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

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  3. Vicki

    We all need to take a step back and a honest look at ourselves remember the pledge of allegiance to this United States of America! As always ( loved your poem last post) you gave me something to think about in a very positive way which is much appreciated! โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

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    1. Vicki, my friend, thank you for your sweet words. And about the last post as well. I want pride to come back. But what Iโ€™ve witnessed is just sad. I have a longing. And we know ultimately what will heal that longing. And in the meantime, maybe we can get back, as a society, to trying to create a little more heaven on Earth. Love you my friend. You stay blessed and safe. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’šโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•โฃ๏ธ

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  4. Funny, as all this happened I also thought of my classrooms and how my students’ preparation changed during the mid-late 2000s. I think you must have been a spectacular, caring teacher. If I have faith right now (in our system) it’s only because I don’t see another choice. Cynicism is the dark side and I don’t want to go there. โค Beautiful post, Karla.

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    1. Pam, many thanks for kind words and thoughts…interesting question. There were so many opportunities to say the pledge for so many years; it seems strange to not say it as often. Did you recite it at school?

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  5. There came the time when I had to tell my kids to stand whether they wanted to or not…out of respect…matter not whether they wanted to say the Pledge or believed the Pledge, but at the time we had service men and woman on foreign soil making the ultimate sacrifice for them to have the right to say the pledge or not…so out of respect for those defending our freedoms, we’d demonstrate our respect…
    I knew then my time was limited…

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  6. jpayne98

    You are truly amazing I have seen firsthand how you love children. You are blessed with the gift from our king and savior to make lives better. Love always and forever. โ™พโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™. J.

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  7. I love this story, and not just because I love stories, and teachers and moms and women and kids and all of your characters. It was lovely just to be in a story like this for a little while. Have you thought of writing / compiling a book of your stories?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane, thank you so much for your kind words and support. I have many stories; and they’re coming back to me in perfect bite-sized pieces. I may have taken too big of a bite at this juncture-but I’m going with a dream. I’m working one-on-one with a publisher and author and beginning a kids’ series of books. I’m Zooming with her once a week. I have almost finished my first one. Although it will be easy reader style, creative non-fiction, for about ages 4-9 “ish” (still deciding) it is chocked full of research on my end just to make an easy reader. LOL! Thank you for your encouragement! I hope you continue to do well and I always enjoy your writing. ๐Ÿ’š

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