Yesterday in class you asked me why we need to learn about the past. Inside my head I was screaming "Because it's Freaking Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!" But I composed myself and curbed the impulse to shout that out to you. Instead what I said to you was that we need to learn about the past in order to understand the present. I also mentioned that it will help you to be able to carry on a conversation when you are older. In my haste to get your class out the door and welcome the next one in, I don't think my answer did justice to why we should study the past. There is more, so much more to that answer. So, I mulled it over and here is what I came up with.
We study history to learn about the past. Plain and simple right? Wrong? It is not that simple. We study history for so many reasons. First, studying the past puts things into perspective for us in the present. We can make connections to our own lives to learn from the mistakes made in the past, and continue to make choices that will benefit us as people.
When we study history, we define who we are, where we came from and where we are going. History is full of stories. When your grandmother tells you a story about what your father was like as a child, that is your history.
When we study history, we learn about the origins and purpose of government. This helps us to understand why there are certain laws that we have to follow and how our lives are impacted by these laws. We can also learn to make informed choices to elect people to our government offices. People who will be representing us in office and creating new laws that will effect us daily. Learning about the government lets us know what our rights are, and promotes civic responsibility.
When we study history, we learn many interesting things about the world around us. Have you ever seen fireworks? They are a beautiful display of lights in the night sky. We see them around the fourth of July. But did you know that fireworks were invented thousands of years ago in Ancient China? That is history.
When we study history, we develop critical thinking skills. These skills help us to analyze everyday situations and make important decisions about our lives. To do that,we make inferences by understanding what is happening around us and put it together with what we know about similar situations. It is these skills that allow us to have meaningful conversations with people.
Lastly, when we study history, we are able to set a course for the future. We can make predictions of what will happen based on similar events that have happened. Studying the past is away to learn and understand what is yet to come.
Justin, I am sure there are many more reasons to study history. What I want you to take away from this is that studying history is important. I want you to find purpose and meaning in class when we study history. I want you to do well and be successful in life, and for all the reasons stated above, learning about history is one tool that I can give you to help make that happen.
P.S. Don't forget to do your homework!