Thursday, February 25, 2010

The history of history

A class that exercises rote memorization of little known, or cared about facts.
Dates: 1492, 1607, 1776, 1812, 1849, 1861, 1865, 1911, 1919, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1945!
Places: San Salvador, Jamestown, Lexington & Concord, Sutter's Mill, Charleston & Mananas, Appomattox, Flanders Field, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, El Alamein, Tunisia, Dresden, Bastogne, Berlin, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo.
Names: Christopher Columbus, Lief Erikson, Virginia Dare, King George III, Washington & Jefferson & Hale & Henry & Arnold, Jackson, Cornwallis, Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Robert E. Lee, George Tecumseh Sherman, McClellan, US Grant, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler, Marx, Stalin, Hirohito, Mussolini, Churchill, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Rommel, MacArthur!
Why? Can one sane person, Please tell me, other than winning on Jeopardy, Or Trivial Pursuit, What need is there to take this subject in school? I asked this very question in every History class I ever attended. The teachers always had an answer; "History repeats itself." Or "Those who don't recall history, are destined to relive it!" Or a famous quote by Winston Churchill; "The further back you look in to history, the farther ahead you will see into the future."
And every time I heard this litany, I would roll my eyes and say "WAH, WAH, WAH, WAAAH!" like the sound made by adults talking to Charlie Brown in a Peanuts cartoon. While these were valid and true statements, they were tantamount to quoting the bible when questioning the existence of the bible's stories. Or using evolution to explain how life came to be. It may be sufficient in the eyes of the believers. But I wasn't so easily convinced. And while most of my history teachers after the 4th grade, considered me and my skeptical reaction as me jst being stubborn or rude and looking for trouble. The best answer I ever heard came in my Junior year of High School. The history teacher, who was also the football coach, rather then just glower at me, replied; "If you don't learn the real history, how will you know what is true when someone tries to tell you a different version?"
Coach William Parrish, From Jacksonville, N.C. God bless you, wherever you are!
Not only was this a realistic answer to a very serious question I had been asking for years. It has proven to be most prophetic. I recently read a blog where a woman said she didn't understand why we celebrate Washington's birthday along with Lincoln's Birthday. "The only thing Washington ever did was to chop down a cherry tree, and not lie about it when caught with the evidence sitting on the ground beside him."
Granted she stated quite clearly that she was "no historian." But she got her back up like a cat in a corner when I agreed in a comment that she was "no historian."
Okay get ready to close your eyes and ears. 'Cause I'm about to use a couple of cuss words:
Sorry for using profanity in public. I don't like it anymore than you! But for the truth sake it was necessary. If you want an example of history being retaught to have a different outcome from what was taught back in the good old days. Just give these three a chance to teach your children about America's past.
Next time "A Yaqui way of knowledge."


Kelly Combs said...

I think we need to be careful what folks are teaching our children about EVERYTHING...history, religion, moral values, etc.

Great post.

Blasé said...

Interesting post, as usual.

Btw, do all Harley Hippies have something against using paragraphs and things of that nature?

Ms. Anthropy said...

I'll bring the bar of soap, for the profanity... ha ha.

Blasé said...

I didn't realize that your 'cuss words' were even teaching history on their network. But, I do know that they did an excellent job of keeping-it-real about GWB. Of course those that are naive to this are likely the same ones who think that Sarah Palin is Presidential Material.

Instead of cussin'....I'll just be sarcastic-

Being anti-homosexual and anti-abortion is always the criterion for the making of a leader of a nation.....and being able to see Russia from their backyard.

samurai said...

I liked the part about "how are you going to know when it gets changed".

2Thinks said...

Every post here lately makes me shake my head and think, "seriously, it is a shame I did not meet this blogger sooner." You are the perfect person to teach history and I'm sure we could have worked out quite nicely an online tutorial between you and my kids. If only...

We taught our kids history by reading great books that correlated with each and every time period- classics, biographies, some from the non-fiction section from the library. And we did this up against the word of God. We started with books about the Nomads, while we also read Genesis and Exodus. We read about Joseph in Egypt, and then we read Henty's, The Cat of Bubastes and a book about the pyramids and with this method, we got an overview and a Godly perspective of just how this world came to be and how our nation came to be and what our place is in it.

History was the most boring subject in the world for me in high school and college, but my favorite during our homeschooling years!

You were just a kid who was ten steps ahead of his peers- the one who wanted to learn and cared to know why, even though that attitude was generally unpopular in school- at least when I was there.