Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Reason My Mother Should Have Lived

She would have really enjoyed discussing history with her grandchildren. I always think of her when Ezra or Phaedra or Sylvie comes to me, shocked over the misbehavior of Frederick the Great or giggling over the misdeeds of Robert Hook or sorrowful over the end of King Harold. They each seem to have a personal relationship with characters in history, much the way I remember my mother feeling.

The advantage to this is when they remember history as real people interacting and reacting, they have a whole tableau instead of dates and places. They all seem to then have a better understanding of how these people and events fall in time relative to one another; maybe they do not have the exact date, but they are emphatic that Dante was not a contemporary of Shakespeare, but Galileo was. And when you're trying to teach the arc of history, these are the important parts. When you know who these men are and who their contemporaries were, then you can more easily remember which wars were waged and why and by whom.

Maybe, I am a brilliant teacher with an excellent curriculum, but I do not think I'm all that special. I really think my mother's spirit kissed them each in their cradles and blessed them with this history gift.

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