History: A Lesson Or A Record?

A poet once said:
History sings of come and gone,
Every word as wise as Solomon.
Even the most uneducated men benefit from the lessons history teaches men whether they are aware of it or not.

There are many who, while going to school dislike history because they say it is just memory work of past activities and events. Why not let bygones be bygones? If history is merely a record with no benefit to the present or the future why not just leave it on the bookshelf for those who are interested and not force students to memorize boring details of yesteryear's events?

Despite the fact that history is a record of past events, educated men consider it important enough to force students to study it until grade twelve. These educated men must see some benefit in learning and trying to understand historical events.

Surely no one can deny that a child learns from primary lessons in history. At an early age, children are told about the pilgrims of exploration, such men as Marco Polo, Leif Erickson, and Christopher Columbus. From these brief sketches of the first explorers and their adventures a child begins to learn how the world as we know it today came to be, how the wealth and treasures of the world were discovered, and more important how this country developed. From the study of Champlain and his colonization in Canada, a Canadian youth of today learns to be thankful for what he has and to appreciate the things around him.

As a child mounts the ladder of education, the study of history, although it is still very general, becomes somewhat more detailed and more interesting. The early years in high school develop the structure of society's organizations through the pages of the history text. A student begins to understand the various forms of religions which encompass the earth and learns about the forms of govern- ment which people know and how they came into being. Such knowledge helps the child understand other nationalities, and prepares him for the times when he will meet them. It teaches the child that man is always searching for an answer, and that such research causes great inventions and discoveries.

Examples, such as the study of the Great Wars surely have definite lessons for today's society. The causes and results of the wars are found in historical records and through intelligent discussion and thought these situations can be prevented from arising again. The study of individuals like the great Napoleon teach ambitious men that even the greatest fall. Seeing and understanding the results of submitting to a dictator like Hitler teaches a student how lucky he is to live in a democracy. It teaches him respect for his government, to become someday a conscientious citizen, and protect his way of life.

History is a knot, a unique combination of realism and romanticism that records the past to teach the present how to prevent reoccurrence of historical disasters and maintain peace and unity for a future world.



Behold, the individual, see him walk across the earth
Printing his prints with his sole in the sullen cement of time.
See him proceed. See him stalk the good things of worth;
A mighty vessel in search of game from death until birth.

Where are jack and jane and john and jill?
They are gone. They never lived. They served one purpose:
Fertilizer for the good earth that men like Einstein might till
The fruitful field and reap and eat an endless fill.

Where are peter and patricia and paul?
They are here. They have not lived. They serve one purpose:
Dews to galvanize the parched tongue of men like DeGaulle
And quench the thirst of thirsty lips until in second death they fall.

Behold, the individual, a reaper and a sower,
A man outstanding in the field, a match in the night.
For him, PUMICE, the tides of life will surge upon the shore
And float him away to sea, leaving the sand upon the beach.


Jack Archibald