How Much History


History is a subject that is often either loved or hated.  If you were to poll the kids sitting in my classroom, they would either tell you they loved it or they hated it without much in between.  My goal is to light the historical fire in their soul.  This got me to think about how little people remember from their history classes.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of those dates really slip my mind.  Now, as a history teacher, I have relearned a lot of them.  So much so that I was listening to a lecture the other day and out of nowhere the speaker made a reference to the Magna Carta and I had to keep myself from yelling with excitement.  No one else in the room really knew what that was, and that depressed the government part of my heart.  I’m not saying that you need to know the Law of April 6, 1830 by heart or what date the Battle of Vicksburg happened on, but you should know the big ones by heart.

I could get on my high horse and start complaining about civic duty and why no one remembers why they are so important, but I’ll try and limit myself.  I don’t like jury duty any more than anyone else, but I’ll happily participate to make sure there is justice in our country is carried out.  I also don’t like keeping up with what/whom I can vote for on the few times a year I’m asked to vote, but I do so I can place an informed vote.  Most of us like the idea of civic duty, but when push comes to shove not many of us (as a nation) do a good job of living up to the expectations of our country.

My wife sometimes wonders why I choose to read the things I do.  For instance, we’re going on a trip over Thanksgiving and I’ve downloaded three history books to listen to.  Two Texas history books and one English history book.  Maybe it’s because I’m historically inclined, but I think it’s important to know what’s happened and why it’s important that I remember it.

So that leads me back to my initial thought, how much history do we remember?  Would this city/state/country/world be better off if we remembered (maybe even put a little emphasis) on a little more history?  I don’t know the answers for sure…but I bet you can tell which way I lean.




In a life filled with things to do and things to become better at, I struggle sometime finding a balance.  I want to be a good husband/father/son/friend, I want to be good at my job, I want to do the things I like to do and make me happy, etc.  I really would love to be able to excel in all of those things, but sometimes that just seems so hard to do because of balance.

For instance, I could definitely spend a lot more time in leisure activities, but what is the opportunity cost for that?  How do you like that senior year economics vocabulary coming back to me as an adult?  If I were to increase my leisure time, I would be giving up the opportunity to spend time with my family or my job.  Since I can’t cut my time as an educator because I have to help pay the bills, that would mean less time with my family.  There would eventually reach a tipping point where I’m clearly spending too much time at leisure and too little time with the family, but I don’t know that I ever want to find where that point would be.  I love my family and want to be around them as much as I can.

The problem for me is that balance is a trial and error process.  We don’t know we’re out of balance until it’s too late.  As a pseudo-perfectionist (at times) the idea that I’m not getting it correct can wear on me.  Maybe one day I’ll have more definite thoughts on what balance looks like for a full-time educator, husband, father of two, that likes to have some amount of leisure time.  Until that time, I’ll keep struggling to find it…and enjoying the ride.