A Parade of Days
History is a succession of the dawning of days, billions of days. It is no less than the tale of our awakening. It is the parade of wonders. History shows mankind to itself with all our glories and flaws, a mirror made not of glass, but rather of experience and life, of flesh and blood, ignorance and discovery.
Is there any study more important than the study of our own steps and missteps? What other study can reap so profound an understanding of all that we are and hope to be?
So why is history provided such slight attention throughout our educational system? Oh, we do make a point of educating our children into a carefully designed understanding of their own nation and its heritage. But no nation is the world. Don’t we owe our children a true understanding of the path humanity took to arrive at their generation?
Perhaps the idea of offering a “true understanding” is the problem? The great French writer, Voltaire, called history a “river of lies”. He felt that history was “written by the victors”, those who won battles and wars, and so what was written was not a true reflection of what had actually occurred.
And yet, with the deepest respect to the French master of letters, history is indeed a river. It is a flood, in fact, of documentation, of proofs, of remnants and clues and artifacts and autobiographies. Much of human history is well documented, from the bones left by our ancestors to the clay business records left in the oldest extant written documents from the times of Babylon. From the Bible to the Magna Carta, from Caesar’s memoirs to the story of ancient India found in the Mahabharata, history is known .
Perhaps that’s the problem with studying history…that there’s so much of it? In just the past hundred years, so much has happened that a study of the period might take up a man’s life, and sometimes does. Yet one can study the overall shape of our past, and come to understand it deeply, with a sincere effort contained in a few school years.
History is our story, from the long night of ignorance, into awareness and civilization. From the dull tentative grasp of primitive existence, to the birth of the first cities in what is modern day Iraq, to the shocking genius of Greece, the profound questing of ancient India, the pinnacle of faith that was Christ, the explosion of Arabic brilliance of the medieval period, to the invention of the modern man through the eyes and pen of Shakespeare, our expanding reach into the universe as finally understood through Galileo’s telescope and Einstein’s theoretical ponderings, to the landing of a man on the moon…every living person today is a result of this dynamic progression.
Wisdom most often comes from experience. History is the study of the experience of our entire race. What wisdom might await a student there?
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About the Author (Author Profile)
Steven David Horwich from Los Angeles, California USA, is an Emmy Award-winning writer/director and a professional educator for the past 30 years. He solo homeschooled his two children who are now an actor and a writer. His writes a blog on homeschooling and is an ardent campaigner for home education.