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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Perspective is key

I have written one post that included some thoughts about perspective. Here's another - I was just reading a book that takes place in Russia. The time frame is after the fall of the Soviet Union, but one gets the feeling that it is not that long after. One of the chapters in the book goes to a elementary school classroom to a history lesson. A question in asked of one of the little girls in the class - "Who was Abraham Lincoln?" Now, we all know Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the U.S. He freed the slaves, wrote the Gettysburg address on an envelope, and preserved the union of the states with his action in and surrounding the Civil War. We also know he was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth. The answer given by a Soviet school educated child was - "Abraham Lincoln was a president of the United States. He led a bloody suppression of a revolt by the southern states of the U.S. seeking freedom." How about that for perspective? I was then thinking about how perspective would apply to other historical figures and heroes in history. How about these? - George Washington to an English child in the early 1800's would have been - "a rebel leader that led a bloody revolt against the King. He was later selected as the first leader of this breakaway colony." This same type of description can be given to most of the American leaders of the revolution. Christopher Columbus to a Spanish child in the 1490s might have been - "an explorer that failed to find a passage to India and the far east." Ponce de Leon to a native American child in the early 1500s could have been - "a murderous invader that led the occupation of our great land." You can see where I am going - How about some of your FAMOUS/HISTORICAL PEOPLE IN PERSPECTIVE? Write 'em down and I will post them.

1 comment:

hpt said...

Did I tell you that in the DR the private school in our town was named Abraham Lincoln but run by British people in the British system? I was talking to the Asst. Headmaster, who was a good friend, and I pointed out that I thought it was funny that the school in the Dominican Republic was run by British people and named for an American President who didn't go to school!

The Asst. Headmaster had no real knowledge of Abraham Lincoln. He also had no knowledge of American History in general. We truly are the "upstart rebels" from their perspective. I think we forget that - people in other countries couldn't care less what happened in America or what IS happening - except to hate us!

That is my perspective on this day, Nov. 26, 2008.

Happy Thanksgiving!