Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why History Matters

I'm sorry... it's 4:52 am again.... and I just read the most beautiful article.  It connects the dots that I've been trying to articulate in my head for weeks now.

I teach history.  And quite frankly most of the time I have no idea why.  I didn't excel in history.  I am not passionate about history.  I don't even like to go on tours of historical sites while traveling, sorry Kristen.  I see the amazing passionate history teacher next door from me, I just don't understand it.  That lady would be excited to see fossilized buffalo dung!  Her kids love history and love her more than I thought was possible.  Anyway,  how I ended up teaching the subject which has the potential to be the most exciting or the most boring of all the subjects based 100% on the teacher.... that is beyond me.  

I've been trying to come up with a heart to heart for 6 years now on why history is so important.  Over and over again I've tried to convey a message, and over and over again I have felt I have failed.

But then I listened to my grandpa's funeral and my wise Uncle Nolan helped me out again.  He started his talk by saying, "When each of us were born we came in the middle of the story...."  I imagined a painting.  I imagined that although sometimes we think we are a portrait, a sole individual with a blank washed out background, but rather we are all apart of a huge master piece that is only partially completed .

It's been frustrating to watch this current evolution of education try to change social studies.  They want data.  They want facts.  They want history teachers to be able to prove that they taught the "essential standards" to all students at high levels.

But that's the problem.  History isn't about facts.  It isn't about dates.  It's a reflection about the past in order to better see ones self. The more I understand that, the more I want to fight the system.  I'm thinking of getting my doctorate.  And currently I want to do my dissertation on, "Why social studies matter." (Please don't hold me to this :)

My aunt Raine sent me the most beautifully articulated article explaining why history matters.

For those too lazy to go read it.  Researchers studies kids and this was the results, "The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned."

"Dr. Duke said that children who have the most self-confidence have what he and Dr. Fivush call a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves."


Why does history matter?  Because our actions matter.  Because our actions determine what at least part of the master piece will look like... 

1 comment:

goddessdivine said...

Thanks for summarizing the article. I don't have the strength to read one tonight. ;-0 But I think the conclusion(s) are spot-on. People who appreciate history think outside of themselves and about the world around them. This sounds like some good material to share with your students.

I actually hated history growing up. Hated it. I always loved and appreciated our country, but I could never dig history class. (Who cares what people did 1500 yrs ago?! Or 500?) And then my sophomore year I had an amazing history teacher, and I realized that history could be totally interesting and totally relevant. Ok, it helped that the class focused on WWII and forward. And not that history clicked right away; but I realized with the right teachers, I could really learn something. And so it started to grow on me.

My dad was a total history buff. He could recall facts and information with an astute analysis like nobody's business. I think he inspired me to learn more, too. After my bachelor's I made a concerted effort to read up, study, and learn US history....esp the founding of our country. Now I really enjoy history! (Esp the American Revolution) Not that I'm great at it. But I try. ;-0

Sorry for the essay. I got carried away.