Last night, our local Christian home educators association had its monthly meeting. We watched a presentation titled "Why Teach our Children History?" by Ted Byfield, a reknown Canadian journalist known for his saltiness and for founding several western newspapers. He also refers to himself as someone who is addicted to history. Certainly his passion in this talk was very contagious to me.
What I found very inspiring is that he talked about the fact that studying history is not about memorizing dates and facts. But rather he impressed upon us that we need to study history so that we as a society don't make the same mistakes twice, so that we can compare current situations against similar historical ones and gain insight on possible outcomes.
It's not enough to know what atrocities Hitler did in Auschwitz. It's not enough to know that Stalin terrorized an entire nation by using some of the most horrific means possible. It's not enough to know when these things happened. We need to know HOW they happened. We need to know what events took place that led to the "aggressive assimilation" of Canada's aboriginal people and the subsequent creation of the government-fund residential schools that will forever remain as one of the blackest marks on our Canadian history. We need to RECOGNIZE the signs that point to loss of freedoms!!
Once we study and isolate the series of events that led to these historical atrocities, we may begin to see similarities in events that are happening today in our very own backyards! Does the agressive stance that the Quebec government is taking in removing home-educated children from their homes in order to assimilate them into a government-funded institution have any resemblance to the government of yesteryear who thought that Canadian Native Aboriginals' best chance for success was to be immersed in English? Why yes... yes it does.
Byfield also mentioned the Tytler Cycle (click to see the Tytler Cycle) or the Democracy Cycle. This is the second time in a short while that this cycle has come into conversation for me. It's amazing, because its been said that that there is NO instance in history when a democratic society did NOT follow this cycle!! In other words, apathy is ALWAYS followed by dependence which is ALWAYS followed by bondage. Remember what I said in THIS POST, about how an apathetic nation is in grave danger of losing its freedoms? Any guess on where our nation is right now on this cycle? Hint- we're near the very bottom!!
But there is hope! Ted Byfield, in his presentation, urged his listeners to inspire our children "to identify themselves with great movements. " YES! Our children MUST read and STUDY great historical classics in order to identify themselves with the great movement that will be needed to take us out of bondage. Our children will be our future leaders who will be tasked with this. Give them great historical heros to admire and emulate! We teach our children history so that they can develop a love for what is right and a thirst for freedom. We teach our children history so that they can recognize the Stalins and Hitlers of the world who are leading us into bondage. But also so that they can recognize the hero's of our world and aim to identify with the great men and women who fighting for our freedoms that are at risk.
Teach your kids history!!