History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.Sydney J. Harris
Education About our Heroes is Key
When I was in elementary school, we talked about the founding of our nation, our great presidents and leaders, and their character and devotion to liberty. I read and soaked up every biography I could get my hands on. It was important to know about the people that were responsible for building this country. My grandparents’ teachers took it a step further. They memorized speeches and poetry about our nation. My grandmother could quote many of these even just before her death at the age of 85.
You might say, “big deal! What does that matter?”
We are so Forgetful
The big deal is that if we don’t know where we came from we will tend to forget the good and repeat the bad. I’ve been studying the festivals of the Israelites. Erin Davis says in her book, 7 Feasts, “we all have spiritual amnesia, but there is a cure” (Psalm 103:2) I guess it has to do with the carnality of man. We just tend to digress instead of improving and learning from the mistakes of the past (our own and our ancestors).
Thomas Jefferson implied in the Preamble of our Constitution, that there was work to be done. That indeed, still here in 2021, we must work “to create a more perfect union”, always improving. Looking at where we came from and determining that we will not return there. We must do better. But we cannot do better if we are constantly wiping out and erasing the areas that need improvement.
Learning from our Past
In ancient times, empires would blot out anything bad that happened. (This is why there is no record of the Hebrews being in slavery in Egypt. It ended up bad for them; so it was blotted out of the history books). Our culture has been consistently working since the 1960s to blot out of our history books anything they don’t like. To the point that we aren’t really getting much history at all.
It is important for us to look at our past, the good and the bad. Then celebrate what we did right and learn from what was done wrong. Where wrongs were made, we remember to not do that again. We won’t remember in the future if we tear down statues and rename streets and buildings. We must leave them as a reminder. And when we see these statues we tell our children about the mistakes and how were are trying to not repeat them ever again. If we don’t teach our children they won’t even understand enough to tell their children.
Inspired by a book!
- The above is inspired by Eric Metaxas’ If You Can Keep It. A must-read for all Americans. It should be required reading for studying the beginning of our Nation. You know George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But how many of these people are you familiar with? George Whitefield, Alexis de Toqueville, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Cincinnatus, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, William Wilberforce, Squanto, Joshua Dewey. There’s more, but you can learn about all of these in this little book about our republic. You do know that we are a republic, not a democracy, right? Eric also has several biographies on these great heroes.
Teach Your Children Well
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.Psalm 78, NKJV
The Psalmist instructed us to teach our children even the dark things in our history. To tell our children the good and the bad. He was speaking of how the Israelites rebelled many times against the Word of God, but God forgave them and blessed them. This isn’t to imply that we teach our children they can do whatever they want and God will overlook it. No, God allowed them to suffer because of their wrongs, and then He drew them back to the fold of righteousness. This is what we should not forget.
Too many of us have let this all fall into the schools’ responsibilities. This we cannot do. We must teach our children at home as well. I don’t necessarily mean you should homeschool (though I am an advocate). I mean the important things should not be left to the schools. Teach your children to be patriotic (love their country) and to have good character. The schools will expose them to their literature. We should be reading biographies and historical lessons at home and discussing them around the dinner table. Teach your children to think things through and not just believe what they are taught. The Bible even warns us to test our pastors to make sure what they preach is biblical. (I fear most of us don’t go home and “fact check” our pastors.)
Get Involved in What Your Children Are Learning
We can’t leave the education of our children to the schools alone. We must get involved. Here’s a thought, read your child’s required reading along with them and discuss them. Family time can be learning time, too. Be more selective in what movies you watch as a family and the books you read together. There is a lot of educational help online. I once received a weekly email with a story from history to read and discuss. Homeschool websites are available even if you don’t homeschool. Homefires offers a monthly page of videos and books to use that correlate with each day in history.
You can stear them into developing discernment and creating their own beliefs and attitudes. When my children were young, we enjoyed reading about heroes. Even adult books can be read together in small snippets which children can understand when you are reading together.
A few useful books
The below are books part of a series of biographies called The Sowers Series
Other Heroes I have written about
This blog carries many stories of heroes of faith, especially women.
Honey for a Child’s Heart includes an extensive bibliography of books listed by age and ability
It’s Your Turn
Are you writing about heroes? They can be from the past, your family, the Bible. We want to read what your have written. Link-up with us for the Month of June.