I used to think it was boring. I used to think it had nothing to do with my life. I used to think it was the reason for my low GPA in school. Oh was I wrong about the subject of history. I need to apologize to all the people out there who have made history an icon, a legend, and the all-time blog of human existence!
When I learned to take the “mystery” out of history my imagination began to soar! I wanted to learn as much as I could about the stories of the past. I discovered that there were actually some important people and events that existed back then so I could exist today! How ignorant I was about the past! However, each new day brings a chance for me to glance briefly in the “rear-view mirror” of these documents that cradle the treasure of the past.
There are many great sources of literature that encompass the lives of the past. Of course, I wasn’t encouraged to read biographies or stories of those events that made the spotlight of history. I only remember learning about history through the dry, boring, and superficial textbooks provided by the less-than-mediocre educational system.
During my elementary years the school I attended did not have the funds for elaborate resources. I can remember that our school had acquired a handful of computers in my seventh grade year, but those computers were very expensive and off-limits on most occasions. So, if the school could barely afford a handful of computers, I can imagine that they didn’t spend much on extra-curricular books for history.
I have been determined to learn as much as I can consume with my mind. I even discovered a book called, “The Well Educated Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer, who helps the adult reader re-discover a love for learning through the journey of great works of literature. Oh, if only I had been exposed to such great forms of learning at a younger age. But, would I have appreciated the dedication and generosity of the teacher? Would I have taken the time to really read and understand the stories of the heroes among the pages of the past?
Where is a good place to start in the study of history? In my opinion, I believe that the beginning is a good place to start. Learn about the history of Egypt and the Sumerians. Read the Old Testament in the Bible to get a time line of the events that took place in the modern-day Middle East. Challenge yourself to read “The Well Educated Mind” and begin with the novel Don Quixote. Take the steps of re-learning slow and easy. Make history come to life in your mind.
As much as I try to steer clear of the ‘Hollywood’ versions of stories, I do have to say that my children have discovered various interests in history because of certain movies they have watched. For example, they began to research different themes of history after they watched Night at the Museum. They wanted to learn more about the mysterious statues on Easter Island, and the life of Attila the Hun (what is a “hun” mommy?). They discovered a fascination for mummies and Egyptian artifacts after watching The Mummy movies.
Although there are millions of books out there that hold the tune of history, I don’t think there are enough books to completely write every scenario. We need to appreciate each day as it arrives. We need to live each day as though it is our last day. We need to be mindful of things we participate in, the experiences we share, and the legacy we will leave behind. We are writing our own history as we live. It may not seem important to us now, but someday our lives may have an impact on someone else… and that may change the course of history forever.