Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Tales of a Fourth Grade Something

I neglected to mention that while Steve has been busy today gracing the pages of the Wall Street Journal and hanging with Neil Cavuto on cable T.V., and while Lawler was busy talking about important topics at a conference with Bill Kristol and Mark Blitz, and Schramm spent his afternoon addressing a large gathering at Ashland on Lincoln’s Bicentennial, I had the pleasure of spending my morning with 28 fourth graders and talking to them about Abraham Lincoln.

We began with what they knew and, typically, the first thing that they were pleased to report on that score was that Mr. Lincoln wore a size 14 shoe. So I learned something too--there was give and take. I was allotted half an hour for the talk but, because I did not lecture and instead engaged them in a conversation, an hour had passed before I even noticed that we were going over my time. I apologized but they insisted that I stay and they continued to pepper me with questions and demand explanations. They were fascinated with the hardships of Lincoln’s life but were even more astonished by the great joy he took in reading, memorizing and talking. Before it was over, they had read (with highlighters in hand) the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, discussed why Lincoln found them so striking, read the Gettysburg address (and done the math)and discussed what might be the difference between a self-evident truth and a proposition. They even discussed the idea of consecration (as in "we cannot consecrate") and ended by suggesting to me that what we ought to do, instead of consecrating Gettysburg or Lincoln or anything/one else, is to continue to work to make sure that we and our nation are dedicated to the proposition in the Declaration and that, if the time ever (God forbid) comes, we are ready to do our part to consecrate it. As I said, there was give and take. It is safe to say that I took more than I gave from this morning. Thanks, especially, to these 4th graders for making it a certain thing that I will never believe anyone who tells me that it is impossible to get kids interested in American history.

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