Children's Story

The Children’s Story…but not just for children” – James Clavell

What symbols of your country do you have in your classroom or school?
What activities do you participate in your school each day or over the year to connect you to your country or your religion?
Do you know all the words to your national anthem and can you explain what they mean?

For many years American schoolchildren have started each school day with a short ceremony in their class which includes pledging allegiance to their country.
The six-year-old daughter of the author of the story below came home one day very proud that she had learned the pledge of allegiance. When her father asked her if she understood what it meant he discovered she had no idea. That day he asked several people if they knew what it meant and discovered that no one had been taught about it at school although they could all recite it by heart. This inspired James Clavell to write “The Children’s Story”.

Look at the title of the story. Can you think what James Cavell might mean by it?

“The Children’s Story…but not just for children” – James Clavell
Part I
The teacher was afraid.

And the children were afraid. All except Johnny. He watched the classroom door with hate. He felt the hatred deep within his stomach. It gave him strength.

It was two minutes to nine.

The teacher glanced numbly from the door and stared at the flag which stood in a corner of the room. But she couldn’t see the flag today. She was blinded by her terror, not only for herself but mostly for them, her children. She had never had children of her own.

In the mists of her mind she saw the rows upon rows of children she had taught through her years. But she could distinguish no one particular face. Only the same face which varied but slightly. Always the same age or thereabouts. Seven. Perhaps a boy, perhaps a girl. And the face always open and ready for the knowledge that she was to give.

The sound of footsteps approached and...