Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Experience with History
History and geography were not my favorite subjects in school. I grew up on a farm out in the middle of no where and never went more than 150 miles from my home. Even though television was invented during my youth, my family did not own one. I had no personal experience with either geography or historical places and therefore felt no personal connection to either of them. After my marriage I began traveling outside of my small area and recognized that there was much to learn about this wonderful world. I was recently reminded of my own lack of interest in history as I tried to share some history with my grandchildren. I took a video with me entitled "This is America, Charlie Brown." The two-disk set shares the following eight adventures in American history with all the humor and fun of cartoons: The Mayflower voyagers, the birth of the Constitution, the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, the NASA space station, the building of the transcontinental railroad, great American inventers, the Smithsonian and the Presidency, and music and heroes of America. When I introduced the video to my grandchildren in Virginia (girls ages 6 and 3), they were excited about watching the video. They sat through both disks totally involved with them. The three-year-old requested to watch the video for quiet time for the next two days. While watching the video, the six-year-old would point out certain parts, such as the chair that George Washington sat in during the Constitutional Convention, and said, "I've seen that chair" or "I've been there." When I asked her if she learned anything new, she at first said no. Then she corrected herself and said that she had not previously known about the transcontinental railroad. Her family has lived in Virginia for the past four years while my son served in the United States Air Force at Langley Air Force Base. They have consistently traveled to various historical places such as Williamsburg, Yorktown, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., so she has personal experience with history. The cartoon containing historical stories meant something to her because she had personal experience. I hope that her parents take her to Promontory Point in Utah so that she can experience being in the place where the transcontinental railroad came together. I then traveled to Texas where I met with three of my daughters and their children, ages 9 years to 9 months. I expected that these children would enjoy a cartoon video even if they didn't know the history. The babies were taking naps, but none of the children ages 3 years to 9 years were really interested in watching the video. It meant nothing to them. The older ones said that they didn't like Charlie Brown and didn't want to watch him. The seven-year-old boy found some parts interesting, particularly the space station. Even the three and four-year-old girls were not interested in watching it. I'm sure that there were numerous reasons for their lack of interest, but I believe that they would have been more interested if they had previous personal experience with the historical spots. I began watching the video from the viewpoint of my grandchildren, and I could understand why they were not interested. In a related family experience, my oldest sister shared family history, Church history, and national history with her children with the many stories that she knew. I did not take the same opportunity to teach my own children, and I feel that my children were cheated of important learning experiences simply because I did not know or did not take the time to share history with them. They learned Black History and Alaska history in school, but I did not add much to their historical understanding. Now I am trying to make up for that lack by sharing historical information in my blog. I highly recommend that you teach history to your children, whether it be family history, church history, or national history. Travel to the historical spots in your vicinity. Include historical spots on vacations. If you can do nothing more, find videos and books, which contain correct history, and share it with your children. Our future depends on knowing and understanding the past. I have recently been watching "The American Heritage Series" with historian David Barton. This is a ten-disk series that emphasizes our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage. I have found the series very interesting, particularly because it gives evidence of the United States being a Christian nation. David Barton explained the following five characteristics of Christian nations: 1) Christian nations have republican forms of government where the people choose their own leaders. 2) Christian nations have an institutional separation of church and state. The government does not run the church, and the church does not run the government. 3) Christian nations have freedom of conscience where the citizens can believe what they want and will not be killed for their beliefs. 4) Christian nations are able to distinguish between theology and behavior. He pointed out that the Ten Commandments are more behavior oriented than theology oriented. They tell us how to behave, not what to believe. 5) Christian nations have a free-market approach to religion. This is a Christian nation, but other religions are invited and welcomed to our country. We don't try to force people of other religions to become Christian. There have been Christian nations for the past five centuries, and none of them have been a theocracy. Our nation was built on Christian values but not on Christian theology. I highly recommend this series to all of you. I guarantee that you will gain much understanding about our heritage and why the progressives want to change our history. You can find out more about David Barton at www.wallbuilders.com.