History’s link to the present

History most definitely has a link to the present. Recently I have been reading a book by Glenn Beck about George Washington. According to the sources cited by Beck, Washington was both an influential man as well as an esteemed one. Some of the familiar tales about Washington appear to be untrue, but, nevertheless, he played an important part of the American Revolution.

Beck gets into some of the behind the scenes negotiations that took place during the war. There was as much dissent in those days as there is today.

My reading lately has seemed to have an historical flare. First I read about the Depression and then the book about Washington. I also found an interesting tidbit about a day in March designated as Liberty Day. It is noted that Patrick Henry made his historical speech on March 23, 1775 the year before the Revolutionary War.

In case this name from history escapes you I provide his famous quote to refresh your memory. Henry said, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” He gave his address in a church in Richmond, Virginia.

When I read about the American Revolution I think of Miss Rotunda, my seventh grade social studies teacher. I loved my history classes so much that I thought I would become a history teacher. Once I entered college and locked horns with a couple of the professors I changed my mind. The only professor I could tolerate was the head of the department and he only taught a couple classes that were available to me.

Miss Rotunda was a small lady with dyed red hair. She always made the class interesting. She had taught about the revolution for years so she had everything put together in story form. She wrote an outline on the board and we had to fill in the blanks for our homework. Since her outline did not exactly follow the book we had to use other sources as well as the textbook to complete the assignment. Often we worked in groups in study hall. When we all put our heads together it was much simpler. She really made history come alive. I appreciate her for that.

Our eighth grade teacher was Mr. Mancuso. He, too, made the subject come alive. We were all disappointed when part way through the year they moved him to the high school. That was however, only the beginning of the relationship that my class formed with Mr. Mancuso. He became our class advisor so he was an important part of our lives for the next four years. When our class made money he encouraged us to form a club to invest it. Through that investment process we had enough money to get the first couple reunions underway.

In 1989 I was a mother with students in college. I was inspired by the demonstration in Beijing staged by Chinese students. They held views similar to Patrick Henry. They put their lives on the line for what they believed in. It was the major news of the day for quite a while.

We have watched a world in turmoil more than once. Not only young people, but adults as well have stood up for what they believe in. It seems inconceivable that the Olympic Games that were recently completed took place in a country that was enmeshed in conflict to overtake another country at the time. That is a case of what you see is not always the whole picture.

Our country is at a crossroad. We either have to stand up for what we believe or live with what happens. When I read the quotation by Patrick Henry it reminded of something similar that I remembered reading from the Bible. It was not about liberty, but it was about standing up for what we believe in. A father says, as for me and my family we will serve the Lord.(paraphrased)

What is happening in the religious community today? Church has become unimportant to many families. They are busy on Sunday with other pursuits. Some churches have tried to counter this by providing services other days of the week. That does not necessarily work either because families are always busy. It is a busy-ness of choice. Parents are not willing to make their offspring make choices they try to do it all.

No family can do it all and survive as a strong family unit. There need to be times where the family comes together to enjoy a meal or just catch up on the doings of the day. Turn the television off. Turn off the electronics and talk. Communication is a victim of too much going on. Do you know what your children are doing? Do you know their friends? Do you know their friends’ families? Are you involved in the lives of your children? Do you take time to listen to them? Do you tell them that you love them? To feel loved and secure children need all of these things from both parents. Parenting is not a one person job. It is a job for a mother and a father. Each person in the family plays a role.

People have to set their priorities. I was brought up with the idea that going to church was a priority. My family did not send me. They went with me. I attempted to model that for my children. Often church activities were our social events. The people from church were our friends.

Stop and really think about the message that you are sending your children. During this Lenten season work to change your priorities to benefit your family. Find some activities that you can all benefit from.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net