November 24th, 2012

[ANSWERED] German Handling Patriotism in America

ANSWERED. Thank you to everyone who took the time to be mature and helpful with their posts. I'm off to write, so no further posts, please. They probably won't be read.

Background: My MC's mother is a native of West Germany (Frankfurt am Main) who married an American man and lives in an American suburb starting in the 80s. German folk generally aren't ones for patriotism, but Americans are (and sometimes, scarily so). My MC's mother has to, of course, send her children to school, where the pledge of allegiance is mostly mandatory unless a parent provides a note asking to excuse the kids from being required to do so. Then there's the Fourth of July.

While I see my MC's mother getting used to American patriotism, I don't see her as ever being fully comfortable with overt displays of it or people who prattle on that their country is superior. So, my questions are:

1. What would be an appropriate way for MC's mother to handle the mandatory pledge situation? Doubtlessly, she'd speak to her children about her worries concerning it when they're still young in a way they can understand, but her concern is doing anything that might single them out for ridicule in school, and she may worry that if her kids sit the pledge out, they'd be made fun of.

2. How about the Fourth of July? I imagine things like having food and friends and fireworks in and of themselves wouldn't bother her after awhile of getting used to it, but the whole occasion would probably stir up uncomfortable associations. Would minimal celebration be okay in that context, or would most Germans say, 'I want nothing to do with things like that'?

3. Bonus and somewhat unrelated: My parents explained to me that when they were children in the 60s/70s, if you messed up, and a neighbor saw you, not only would you get in trouble, the neighbors would then call your parents, so you'd often get yelled at/spanked twice (a bit of a 'it takes a village' mentality). Was it the same way in West Germany in that time period?

Googled: German living in America, excused from saying the pledge

Thanks, everyone!

Australian GED equivalent?

So, I'm Australian myself, but I have absolutely no idea about this. I've googled 'australian ged equivalent' and related searches, and I've looked through this comm, but my search's been fruitless thus far.

What's the closest Australian equivalent to the American GED certificate? I've heard people refer to 'Year 12 or equivalent' enough to know that one must exist. Story is modern-day, South Australia, character in question dropped out at the end of Year 11/beginning of Year 12 (shortly after turning 17) and it's been long enough since he dropped out that he wouldn't bother going back (and he couldn't deal with school anyway), but he's still technically a minor for the moment (I can change the timeline a bit to make him 18 if necessary).
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