Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teach the Hard Things

This article reinforced the importance of teaching the hard things to my children:

I do teach these hard things, and sometimes I am at a loss to explain why. I don't think we can always explain the why behind the horrors of the past, but I think it is terribly important to talk about them. There is the saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." and this is certainly true. However, I think we owe it to those who lived the horror to make sure our children are just as horrified so they will fight against it should it ever present itself again.

The article linked above shares this:

A major poll taken last year of 53,000 people found that just 54 percent had ever heard of the Holocaust. Knowledge of Auschwitz is likely even more limited, particularly among young people. Past surveys have shown that nearly half of Britons had never heard of Auschwitz. Some schoolchildren even thought Auschwitz was a type of beer. 

How much more, as a teacher, ought I to make sure my children understand? I feel the weight of it when we study the World Wars because there are still those who live who lost whole families. The article goes on:

The first night inside Auschwitz my father said we must separate because together we would suffer double. “On your own, you will survive,” he told me. “You are young and strong, and I know you will survive. If you survive by yourself, you must honor us by living, by not feeling sorry for us. This is what you must do.” That was the last time I ever saw my father.

I’m grateful for my father’s words of grace and guidance. They echo in my heart even still. It’s a cruel thing, feeling guilty for surviving. But my father erased any future guilt and replaced it with purpose. It was a gift only a father’s wisdom could give. It gave me a reason to go forward, a reason to be. It does still.

The author of this article still lives. This man lost his whole family. Here I sit in my warm comfortable home, typing away in freedom on my home computer--with all my children, husband, and parents too--still alive and living well.

What would it mean to lose everyone I loved? We are not talking about the ancient world or even the middle ages. This was only 70 years ago. What would it mean to me to have to keep going?

Teaching the hard things not only helps to prevent them from repeating, but honors those who died. I think they honor the living survivors too. As the author shares:

But at 86, another part of honoring my father’s wishes requires being a voice for the voiceless. Indeed, as parents, educators, and citizens, we must all do our part to help ensure that “Never Forget” remains much more than a threadbare catchphrase that gathers dust and loses meaning with each passing year.

I agree. I remember. I will help my children remember too.


Unknown said...

Great article! It is so important to remember and teach our children

Kate said...

Amen, Erica. :)


Thrift Schooling said...

I appreciate this post. My great aunt survived the camps and never spoke of it..until right before she died that is because she realized that the younger generations needed to know what happened.. A very sobering part of recent history.

Kate said...

Heather, I am so sorry. It absolutely is sobering and you are right - no one should forget.