It’s not unusual to see the history book with on our dining table, tucked among the breakfast things.
Our school day begins with prayer and then a history lesson, often while our son eats.
Last fall I discovered that our son’s interest in history grew a great deal if I could relate the people or place we were studying into something or someone he’s familiar with.
So, our American history lessons are often dotted with family.
Like the day after we read about Sherman’s march in the Civil War.
I read through an old family letter which told about my grandfather’s grandpa.
“On November 16, 1864 he enlisted for one year as a private in the Union army, (Company C, 17th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry) at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He joined his company on January 29,1865 at Pocotaligo, South Carolina. At enlistment he had given his age as 18 and used the name John Shuck. Shuck was his mother’s maiden name. (At some point they discovered his real age; 16) he was drummer boy in General Sherman’s army. Atlanta was burned on November 15th 1864, and the march to the sea was started immediately. Sherman entered Savannah in mid-December and started the march North in late January 1865. Through an affidavit signed by Grandpa we know he was on the march from Savannah to Goldsboro, North Carolina. The soldiers still plundered and laid waste the land. It was cold, wet and no tents were provided. Grandpa suffered from rheumatism and consumption in the winter and spring of 1865. Grandpa was honorably discharged on July 14, 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.”
Although, he was interested by the fact that his grandfather was part of a famous march, Jase wasn’t glad about the suffering it caused to many, nor was he happy to hear about the illness of his grandfather, which marked his life permanently.
He was very glad the Civil War put an end to slavery in the United States.
This sparked questions and he wanted to hear more about Grandpa John.
Our history lesson turned into an extended family heritage study.
This rolled into Grandma Thekla and other moments of history, like the Chicago fire.
Grandpa lost everything he had, but both Grandma and their first child were safe, because both Mother and daughter had been sent back to Germany to visit her family as Grandma wasn’t feeling well with their second child.
Grandma’s doctor had prescribed an ocean voyage to help Grandma’s morning sickness and God used it to keep both Grandma, her expected baby and their little daughter safe.
(Not to mention that my great grandfather was the last of their six children.)
That day’s history lesson/family heritage were an opportunity.
Learning just to gain head knowledge is of little use, but to be able to look at the experiences of those from another era and see that God was working even then, that is valuable.
As we study history, I pray our son is learning so much more than names, dates, and the accomplishments of mankind.
I pray he understands that people have sin and therefore often harm themselves and others.
I pray he finds identity, not in who his great great grandparents were, but in being a child of God.
I pray he finds inspiration, for history is full of incredible people God used in amazing ways.
I pray his faith in Jesus grows daily, whether he’s studying or working or enjoying recreation.
For life is a gift from God and I want to use my gift well, and I know our son does too.
Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage.
Ecclesiastes 5:18 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for those You have used to record history, that we might grow in the understanding that mankind is flawed, but You are faithful. Thank You for using our family to teach both myself and our son. Thank You for the best truth of all, we have hope in Your eternal salvation! Lord Jesus, I pray for those who struggle to see Your hand at work in their lives and the lives of others. I pray that their understanding will be opened and they will be brought to a knowledge of Your goodness, Your mercy, Your grace. Lord throughout history we can see the tragedy of sin and the stain of wickedness, but through Your Word we can see that from the moment people chose sin rather than faith You have been making a way by which we can be saved. Lord Jesus, thank You! Thank You for life and the opportunity to live wholly for You. Thank You for truth and the reality that this world is not all there is. Thank You for Your love which washes away our sins. Thank You for Your Sovereignty, which: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV) I love You, Jesus. Amen.