Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pursuiting the Happiness

In these dour and cynical times, it's encouraging to know that some children still understand and appreciate what makes America the last great hope. In today's WSJ, Melanie Kirkpatrick discovered What Newcomers Know About Thanksgiving:

Like the Pilgrims, most of the students at Newcomers say their families came here seeking better lives. The Pilgrims "were looking for something they didn't have in England," says a girl from Colombia. "When you come here it is the same. You have to face difficulties." An Ecuadorian girl sitting near her agrees, "When they [the Pilgrims] came here, they felt alone and didn't have friends. Me either."

Virtually every student I talk to has a similar story: "My dad came here to have a better life," says a girl from Ivory Coast. "He worked as a house boy. Now he works for the MTA [Metropolitan Transit Authority]." Or a boy from China: "My mother finished elementary school. Then there wasn't any money for middle school. . . . She wanted to come here to make a better life for her children." A Bangladeshi boy quotes the Declaration of Independence; his family came here for the purpose of "pursuiting the happiness."

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