I’ve been asked by my daughter-in-law, who teaches second grade in public school, to come to her class tomorrow and do a presentation about the meaning of Veteran’s Day. It’s a daunting challenge.
Now I’ve never been one to shy away from public speaking. However, notwithstanding my thirty years of ministry as well as preaching and singing in front of large audiences, I find myself at something of a loss when it comes to addressing an audience of seven-year-olds. How do you explain an abstract concept such as liberty to little concrete minds? How do you relate to them the meaning of the values we hold dear?
I asked on Twitter for suggestions. One that I value came from a fellow Army vet, Laura, who is known on Twitter as @ConchoQueen. Being a former 2d grade teacher herself, she prepared me for what to expect. Her recommendation: follow who, what, when, where, why. They'll ask if u shot/killed anybody if they get a chance if things haven't changed. (I don’t think I’ll give them the chance – if I can help it.)
Another of my “tweeps,” @JoetheMailman, sent me a youtube link to Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” speech. It inspired me to talk about the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. But, there again, sacrifice is an abstract, so I’ll have to come up with a more concrete definition.
So, here’s my game plan. First, present the Declaration of Independence statement on basic human rights. I’ve printed it in large, arial font that a second grader can read. I’ll have them all read it aloud.
Then, I’ll break it down into language they can better grasp.
It is obvious that God gave us the right to live, be free and be happy. And they're our rights to keep. These rights are worth fighting for, which is why I, and thousands of others, have worn the uniform and have served our country. And thousands still are serving today to protect our rights to be alive and free.
Finally, I will challenge them to never pass up an opportunity to say thank you to our veterans and those who protect us today.