War-Worn

I’m tired of war.  Three-and-a-half books into Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World series, and I’m battled out.  These books are quite popular with my boys.  I read them aloud, discuss the questions with them, and extend the topics as interest and time permit.  They aren’t perfect, I know, but they’ve served as a gateway to history for the three of us.  But I’m sick of war. 

I know the past and present were and are filled with violence of all kinds.  I know the process of and outcomes from shaped nations and individuals.  I appreciate that understanding the past helps our understanding of the present and should guide our decisions for the future.  I’m certainly aware of my younger’s passion for all things warfare:  swords, pike poles, archery, daggers, battleships, fighter planes, and guns. But I’m tired of war. 

Today we finished the movie Gandhi.  I’d sat through all three hours of it (in the theater!) as a middle schooler and, after reading in Story of the World IV about him, thought my older, at least, should see the movie as well.  Additionally, our church has been studying Hinduism this month, and Gandhi’s name came up the previous week in children’s chapel.  The time was now. 

Next year's history study

 

We watched over three days, and everyone hung in there.  I was certain my war-loving, duct-tape-sword-toting younger son would lose interest in a man refusing to fight back physically even when attacked.  But he stuck with it.  Several times he asked why Indian men went ahead knowing they’d be beaten by police, why Gandhi insisted on a nonviolent path.  He may not have agreed with the man, but his attention was captured.  My older, with 30 minutes to go, announced he was bored.  He stayed put to the end, but his interest had waned.  Ah well.  One out of two isn’t bad. 

Next year, with four years of surveying history behind us, we’ll study the history of music and the arts.  Discovering Music:  300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History, and Culture will take the place of war and battles.  My older’s enthused, and he’s my primary audience for the course.  As a talented piano student, he’s developed an affection for the classics and wants to know more about music history.  My younger’s enthusiasm is likely to be less, but who knows?  He liked Gandhi.  For us, history and geography seep across the curriculum, appearing in literature, language, science, and even math.  Both have an appreciation and understanding of history that I failed to develop after a fine liberal arts college education.  Learning along them about the ancients, the middle ages, the renaissance, and modern times, I’ve gained what I did not have before.  While I don’t share my younger’s fascination with all things war, I do share his pleasure in perspective over the long haul and enjoy pondering the questions such study brings.  And that’s worth quite a bit.

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4 thoughts on “War-Worn

  1. Oh wasn’t Gandhi really LONG? But I was glued to the screen, quite emotional back in India. For a long time people refused to believe that Ben Kingsly had Indian heritage…and later I found out to be true. I know it can be hard to relate to the movie though. Hats off to your boys trying to stick with watching it. Some of our Indian kids today do not appreciate it as much I would think. We have watched it couple of times with our children, and it evoked different responses at different times, anger, frustration and then total admiration. Gandhi is ds’ hero…That was the first essay he wrote as a 4yr old, lol

    Sarah, my ds ‘loves’ the Discovering music. I thought I may have to sell it as soon as Jaime’s course got done(Online G3)…but no, he is thoroughly enjoying it. And now, looks like dd would want to check it out this summer, after all her univ classes gets done. So, I say ‘good choice’.

    Have fun! And thanks for letting my ds say a few words. I usually do not let him comment on blogs, but it felt right in yours:)
    -Subadra

  2. Are you an OnlineG3er too?

    My 10yo is currently in the class based on Discovering Music. It was kind of a rocky start — the lecturer skipped around a lot, pulling threads together. As an adult with history background and cultural studies background, I could see what she was doing. To my daughter, it was just random data. But we agreed that things would likely get better as she backed up and started to focus in on specific periods and figures in history, and that has in fact been the case. Now my 6yo is watching with us again — she couldn’t handle the super general stuff. (And we already know the music terminology.)

    Also, in the first week, my daughter seemed really reluctant to embrace the idea of music having context, purpose, demographic target groups, etc. Taste is so very personal and identity-defining for tweens and teens, and thinking of your own tastes in that way can be daunting. But that is the magic of history — interpreting culture is so much safer feeling when the culture is 400 years removed. Now she is into the idea and thinks about it as we listen to the radio (as long as it’s the classical station).

  3. We haven’t tried the online G3 classes, although I’ve heard great things about them. The boys and I are going to go through the program together (or at least my older and I will). Both play piano, and my older son is farily advanced, so the music terminology works for us, too. I have high hopes and greatly appreciate your comments about the start. It’s good to know!

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