Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Emancipation Procla-WHAT?

Rich was working with the 17 year old boy again yesterday. I will refer to him as TB (teen boy) for the sake of this post. Rich was asking him if he was ready to head back to school and what his favorite subject was. TB declared that history was the subject he was most interested in. Rich, who is a huge history buff, was suddenly interested. He started to throw out history questions to TB.

Rich: Who was the 16th president of the United States?
TB: Huh?
Rich: Who was the 16th president of the United States?
(a long pause followed. Rich decided to help him along)
Rich: He was called the great emancipator.
Rich: He wrote the emancipation proclamation.
TB:(laughing) Ok, you are just making this up right? The emancipation proclamation? That's not a real thing......Is it?
(I am lucky my poor husband didn't have a heart attack right then and there!)
Rich:(trying not to give TB a dope slap) Yes, it is a real thing. Did you ever hear of
Abraham Lincoln?.........Slavery?..........Anything?

Rich asked other questions that were met with a blank stare from TB. TB had never heard of Watergate, The Iran-Contra Affair or Christa McAuliffe.Rich said he shook his head and sighed at TB as he said, "I weep for our future."

I tried to defend TB this morning by saying that TB was a baby when some of this happened and as for Watergate, he wasn't even born yet. Rich became so saddened by TB's lack of knowledge in the subject he proclaimed as his favorite.

I admit I know just about nothing about history.(I did know all the questions that Rich asked TB, thank goodness!)In school,I learned about the Pilgrims every year in November, tid bits aboutThe Revolutionary War, a few mutterings about Eli Whitney,George Washington Carver and Christopher Columbus. My history teachers didn't look like they even enjoyed history so how could they teach it effectively? I always say that most of the information that I know about history is because Rich taught it to me.

Lillianna will have a great advantage when she starts to learn about history in school. Whatever she doesn't learn from her teachers, she will learn from her father.

What were your history teachers like? Did you feel like you got a good education in history? What would you have changed?

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