(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write all through March, every day, about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)
“Are his lips even moving?” my wife asked.
I adjusted my glasses, squinted a bit. The stage was in the distance, packed with about 80 high school juniors.
“I don’t think so,” I replied, as the chorus of voices on the stage recited the pledge for the National Honor Society during last night’s dedication ceremony for incoming honor society members. Our son is one of those on the stage.
Years ago, our older son was in the middle school chorus, rather reluctantly but we worried about him spending idle time in the Study Hall period. During concerts, he would not sing. He would just stand there, sometimes moving his lips. Never singing. Not even humming. Just … there. We laugh about it, as a family.
Now it was our middle son who had his own lips locked on stage, even as everyone around him was pledging to uphold good citizenship, academic performance and honesty.
He had somewhat been reluctant to agree to be accepted into the Honor Society (students are nominated by teachers), although he is solid student and fine athlete, and he does help others in the community. He has a big heart. We, his parents, shallowly like that being in the National Honor Society doesn’t hurt for his college applications and, not so shallowly, that it will provide more ways for him to do community service over the next year.
Later, he admitted to us that he didn’t say the pledge. He told us this with a grin on his face.
“I knew it!” my wife said, tapping him on the chest. He’s about a foot taller than she is.
“It’s kind of a cult,” he responded, and his best friend, who was also on stage with him, nodded in agreement. “Sort of cultish. Lighting candles and all that.”
What he meant is the strange vibe of geeky academic kids pledging in one voice to uphold rules and regulations in a sort of robotic recitation. The past members light four candles in honor of the “four pillars” of the society.
On one hand, I was proud of him for his individual spirit and sense of resistance. He’s going to need it in the Trump years ahead. On the other hand … come on, kid. It’s the National Honor Society! They do good in the world.
Peace (saying it out loud),