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I hope Glenn Beck can forgive me for borrowing from the idea that he launched Insider Extreme with…the Future of History…but….

Last year, last December, I tried not to concentrate too much on politics, but on history. Well this year, the second December of this blog, I want to focus on the future. Do blogs purely devoted to where I think we are heading as a country, and what I think we can do about it.

But first, I want to bridge the two ideas. I want to bridge the two blogs and the two themes, and talk about the Future…of History. Or at least the Future of teaching our kids and the next generation about history.

Because I think, IMHO…unless you are an encyclopedic Historian..we are teaching it wrong.

We teach the dates, and the pure facts, and who said this and when they said it. We teach when it happens, but not the why’s and the how’s.

And as for me, I get all those jumbled up in my head.

We do not connect things.

Because who cares about facts as long as we do not put it in their proper context? Who cares that World War 2 began on December 7th 1941, or that D-Day was on June 6th 1944?

Other than real hardcore historians, I do not think it matters, which most of us aren’t. Its test day diarrhea, you just learn all the facts and dates and quotes you can for a test vomit it out, then move on with your life, that is all that it is.

Now all this is just opinion because most of what you learn about history is about you the individual. The themes and the life lessons. I mean maybe I paid a lot less attention in history that I thought and maybe people, at large, really do know things and can connect the dots. Maybe they do.

But what we need to teach, is themes, is lessons, is the patterns of history if you will.

We need to learn, what works, and what does not, and how A led to B and our own history if we are to survive as a Republic.

Schools must teach that, but not only in addition to that, because it is hard to teach that, but also how to empower people to find answers on their own.

Again maybe its just me but I do not think we are doing this enough.

We must prepare people for the future because history does not repeat. World War 2 will never happen again, the American Revolution will never happen and turn out like the way it did the first time, it is impossible.

But themes and lessons do repeat. The ideas are cyclical and humanity keeps on coming back to the idea…well that they can make us better.

These themes of racism and evil and great good keep on going all around.

So the ultimate goal of teaching history is to teach people to recognize the patterns, to help us remember who we are and what our heritage is as a people, and what to do when we see these patterns repeating. How to prepare and what to do.

Remember the lessons is ultimately yours to take, but if we do teach proper themes and proper facts and put it in the proper context then we should know how to react as a people and we can help another out and educate those who may not get it even when we are not a historian ourselves.

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8 Comments

  1. First of all…WW2 did not start on December 7th 1941…

    Anyway, I agree. History is about studying patterns and how those patterns can describe the local environment. It is more than war and presidents. What should also be emphasized is social history. Music, Art, Entertainment, Fashion, Social evolution…all of that should be included in one way or another. In reality we learn nothing by studying why WW2 happened, but what if we study what people knew and thought and how they reacted at the time? Perhaps we could answer much more about us.

    But teaching history should always be apolitical. It shouldn’t be about balancing Liberal and Conservative ideas. Let the facts speak for themselves, no need to deter one political view or the other. History should be a scientific venture unconcerned about political opinions. I say this because earlier this year in Texas certain items in the Texan curriculum where thrown out for these purposes. It wasn’t for the desire to expand children’s understanding of History, but to provide a more “conservative” view of history. That is the flaw, not that it is a more conservative view, but that it is a view related to politics period.

    • I agree with that, we should look at those other things.

      And…I was not saying history should be political. That was not the point of this blog. As for Texas, and the rest of the country, it is a more liberal curriculum for the most part and now the Texas board is trying to balance it out. I do not think they are being overly political but I would be delusional if I think it did not exisist, even if they were not being so obvious about it. But the fact is that no class and no man can learn or teach all knoweldge, which is why schools should be encouraging people to find their own answers on their own. The lessons and patterns in history. Help guide and teach the facts and proper principles, but yet we need people who can actually think….and not by getting a college education.

  2. R2 is right about that…..WW2 actually started about a couple years before that with Hitler’s rampage across Europe….Dec. 7th, 1941 is only when our involvement in the war began when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. We weren’t involved right from the start….we only got involved when we were attacked by one of Hitler’s allies.

    • I know…I know.

  3. Well… not directly involved anyways. Before Pearl Harbor, we had the Lend-Lease policy towards producing weapons/supplies/etc for the allied nations. And actually, the first example of combat that the US encountered during World War II was in 1939, when the USS Niblack attacked a German U-Boat that previously sunk a Dutch cargo ship. đŸ™‚

    • That you Rick?

  4. See you guys can’t even agree on History hehehehehe. I’m sorry but I suck at History I’ll admit it and my History teachers failed me in that they did only expect me to memorize dates and events and that had no connection to me. I felt they had no relevance to me or how my world was shaped today. But I did have one History teacher in which they told interesting stories…in a way that I felt engaged and was learning and I went from a previous D grade in history to that year an A….all because I felt they got me interested in learning on how History impacted the people at the time and how it impacted our society and culture thus ultimately how it impacted me. I think that is what is missing. Is that harder to teach? You bet ya….the teacher has to actually use some creative teaching techniques and not just have students read and memorize dates…..but in the end that approach will get more engaged learning going on.

    • teaching on an assembly line versus actually teaching. đŸ˜‰


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