In the 1970’s ABC television introduced a series of animated musical educational short films aimed at children called Schoolhouse Rock. Perhaps you remember some of the catchy tunes that usually ran on Saturday mornings such as: Conjunction Junction; Mother Necessity and I’m Just a Bill. The other day my five-year old son was singing one of these familiar jingles. When I stopped to listen, I realized that he was singing the preamble to the Constitution.
We the People [of the United States], in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I pulled out my copy of the Constitution, looked it over and, yes, he knew all the words perfectly. This made me pause. I studied the Constitution in college and took the requisite Constitutional Law in law school, and yet my son knows the Preamble to the Constitution better than I. To be honest he did not understand what it all meant; however, we took a few minutes parsing out each phrase as I did my best to explain these concepts to a five-year old. Whether my son grows up to be a Constitutional scholar someday remains to be seen, however his flawless recitation of the Preamble did cause me to spend a few minutes re-reading the entire document. Leave it to a five-year old to make me appreciate what a brilliant job our founding fathers did some 222 years ago.
– J. K. Butera