When I was young, very young, and in elementary school we took a field trip to the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee in Old Town Alexandria. We saw a few other things there and looked at some historical markers but the highlight of the trip was the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee.
Now that I have kids of my own and the topic of how history is taught it raging on the news stations I am remembering things like this. Thinking more critically about how and what I was taught. We took a field trip to the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee. It was somewhat right around the corner but so were a lot of things. There were a lot of options when it came to field trips and I am certain most of them wouldn’t have involved a traitor to the United States.
I have been to Talbot County, Maryland numerous times in my life. It was one of my parent’s favorite weekend trip spots. I remember learning about the battle of the War of 1812 that took place there and everywhere my family went we did some sort of history tour, but you know what we never did in Talbot County? Visit anywhere that had to do with Frederick Douglas. Was this an oversight of my parents or did that not know that such an important American was born right there?
We get to choose our heroes. History is a narrative. It is the story we tell of how we got here, and our current telling of it could use a lot of improvement. I say that last part but I don’t really know. It has been over 20 years since I had any type of history class. As I said yesterday I’m reading the book Kindred. I told my friend today that this book should be required reading and he told me he read it in High School so it was for him. My friend graduated High School five years after me. That’s not that long of a time. How much is different now?
Maybe that is people’s entire problem. They remember the way they were taught and by the time their kids are being taught so much has changed. Even if a person has a kid young that kid is starting High School 15 to 20 years after their parents did. My kid will be starting High School in the damn 2030’s. That is at least 30 years after I graduated. Kids born the year I graduated from High School will be seasoned teachers at their High School. There is no way what they learn will, or should, be the same.
The world changes. People too often think stasis is an option. There are only two states of being, progress or decay.