Many Issues, One Solution
A couple of months ago, I told you about a girl who showed loyality to her family’s produce business during a beauty contest. When I heard the announcer say that her favorite food was produce, I thought, “Oh, sure!”
I hope you don’t think the same thing when I say that I love to write curriculum. I really do. It gives me great joy. The first through fourth grade American history I am working on right now has been a joy mixed with pain. The pain does not come from the project; it comes from the anti-history cultural environment we are experiencing today. Let me explain.
It is fun to tell children that the German immigrant Conrad Weiser said this about his mother:
She was much beloved by her neighbors and feared God. Her motto was: “Jesus Christ, I live for you, I die for you, thine am I in life and death.”
It is fun to place this painting of an Iroquois hunter in snowshoes on a page that describes the Six Nations confederacy of native tribes . . .
. . . and to show the children the kind of house where he lived in the winter.
But it is not fun to wrestle with the history issues that we hear about in the news at the same time! I have always written with deep respect for all people. I have always believed that American history is the story of the people who look like I do and the people who don’t. I have worked hard to tell the story of Americans who think like I do and those who don’t.
Writing American history for children in their early elementary grades in an age when many people seem determined to destroy American history has been sad and painful. I believe in respect for every person.
Perhaps you haven’t heard about the recent history-destruction effort in a nearby town in Tennessee. When staff members at the Hermitage arrived at work one morning about a month ago, they found vandalism in the cemetery. Vandals had sprayed red and black paint on the tomb that marks the graves of President Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel.
President Andrew Jackson has a mixed story. He was a slave owner. His role in the Cherokee Trail of Tears is horrendous. I hate that he did those things. At the same time, I appreciate the fact that a son of an immigrant fought in the American Revolution while still in his early teens. My heart goes out to a boy who was an orphan by the time he was fourteen years old. I respect a man who could rise from utter poverty and obscurity to become the first president of the United States who was not from a wealthy family from Virginia or Massachusetts.
Andrew Jackson had a problem that was common to man. He was a sinner. Every historical figure besides Jesus Christ has had that same problem. Every politician has had that problem. Every media personality has had that problem.
Every person represented in every statue — except statues of Jesus — has had that problem. Every person who has marred a statue — or tomb — has the same problem.
This past Saturday Ray and I went to the hospital to visit a precious friend who is living her last days on earth. We were in the same hospital where our grandson died exactly six years before. I confess that I came out of her room and bawled my eyes out in the bathroom. But, before we went in to see her, I realized an absolute truth. Jesus really is the only answer. He is the answer to loss and the answer to death.
Jesus is also the answer to sin — the sins of every famous and not-so-famous person. He is the answer to the sins of every person who honors famous people. And He is the answer to the sins of every person who desecrates their memory.
I recently listened to a book about Americans who spent time in Paris in the 1800s — I know I’m weird, but I believe in the power of what we learn from the past. Parisians suffered through one war, revolution, and power struggle after another in the 1800s. Some of the worst atrocities happened when a godless group tried to destroy Christianity in France. Besides executing the bishop simply for being a Catholic leader, they pulled down a monument to Napoleon. I’m no fan of Napoleon, but my heart hurt as I listened to the story of his statue coming down. We need these reminders of the past. At some monuments, we can be grateful for the good that happened. At others, we can be reminded not to repeat the terrible things that happened. At almost all, we can do both at the same time — that is if the sinners who are condemning the sinners will stop tearing history down so that neither lesson is learned.
. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified as a gift by His grace
through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. . .
Thank you once again for another great post. You have expressed my own feelings perfectly. Many of your offerings lately have touched me and prompted poignant feelings in my heart, but I have not taken the time to express my thoughts or my gratitude. So thank you. You don’t realize the number of times thst your words hsve been just what I needed that day.
Thank you, Joanie. This means so much.
Yes, we are seeing so much of History being hated upon. Here in Texas, the city of Dallas spent $100’s of $1.000’s of dollars to remove the Gen. Robert E. Lee statue. And there will be more to come.
The mayor in our little home town of Cleburne was even approached about removing our statue of Gen. Patrick Cleburne.
There are so many things in history that some want erased, yet are repeating the same things.
I agree Charlene, folks want to point out others sins while overlooking their own.
Thank you for all of your wonderful posts.
Amen! What a great post! I always enjoy your posts and, as usual, this one was so very gracious and full of truth. Jesus is the only answer for all of us. Thanks for the encouragement!
Also, looking forward to the new American history book!
How can we learn from history, if history is erased? Removing or destroying historical statues will not change what happened. We should bring it to the forefront and allow the children of today learn from previous mistakes.
Thank you for writing what so many of us think.