Tag Archives: Flag

The Flag and Other Symbols


Like many Americans, I fly the flag from my porch. Even with a high quality sewn nylon flag, after about a year, it begins to look a bit tired and starts to fade. Yesterday I replaced the old one, and my son asked me, “What’s the big deal about a flag? I could see it if we were in the 14th century charging on horseback with spears and swords, but why is it such a big deal?”

Interesting question, and I’m not sure I was able to adequately answer, but here’s what I tried.

There are certain things that are bigger than we are, and they often are beliefs. It could be faith, patriotism or some other value – we can’t discern them directly, so we use symbols to represent them. It’s not the flag itself but the ideals that it stands for that makes the flag important.

He wasn’t entirely satisfied with that explanation, but I believe that’s to be expected. It takes a certain maturity and wisdom to understand that there are ideas and values more important than any one person. Sadly, it seems as though some people never make that leap and are doomed to being limited to loving power or wealth or other material things.

Flag on the Play


As you know, I’m not a big sports fan, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn something from sports. In this day and age, teamwork doesn’t seem likely, but perhaps a way of modifying behavior might be useful around the house. What if parents took turns as umpires, complete with whistle and yellow flag – it just might help bring tranquility to the home.

Actions requiring flags and proposed penalties:

OFF SIDES – Child enters another’s room uninvited to borrow an item. 5 rooms of vacuuming, return the item.

PERSONAL FOUL – Child tries to instigate a fight and/or call a sibling a name. Carry out the garbage, recycling and composting for a week.

FALSE START – Child promises to reduce video game/Facebook/Twitter/etc. time but does not. Loss of smartphone.

INTENTIONAL GROUNDING – An action that is so blatant (e.g. “Mom, I dare you!”) that it defies logic. Restriction to home including loss of electronics.

PASS INTERFERENCE – Actions that interrupt studies or homework assignments of a sibling. Offender sent to do chores until the required study time is completed.

HIT ON A DEFENSELESS RECEIVER – Tossing objects that damage the television because of disagreement with what someone on the program says.  Offender sent to appliance store to purchase replacement half again of the previous screen size.