Friday, 7 September 2007

Friends and-History?!

Upon leaving school Friday, a few boys came up to Quinn to ask if he wanted to play at the park. “Sure,” he said, “is it okay mamma?” Yes! Friends! We were hoping Quinn would find a buddy or two, and here they are already.

Maggie still referred to the girl who sits next to her as her friend, even though they don’t actually talk and she doesn’t know her name. The little girl has presence which is requirement enough, and I guess that’s what a friend is all about. Being there.

As we walked to the park, Quinn reported that his day was all right. And then a sad, bitter look stole over his face. “We have to do History on Monday,” he said with anxiousness. “Oh, that will be interesting,” I said. “But the other kids have already had history,” he rebuts.

History. The big unknown. For Quinn it must seem like Math, where if you don’t have the proper background, you can certainly get behind and be in a state of panic (speaking from experience). History is not a stepladder which progresses linearly from a defined place or moment. Little does he know that History is one big ocean containing many different stories. One can collect and study parts of History, but it cannot be contained in one person. It is totally subjective and amusing sometimes where people, cultures, and institutions choose to begin to study the individual stories of History. Do you begin with Lucy, one of the first persons found, and talk about the origin of humankind? Do you begin with the Greeks because it was such a smart ancient civilization, and everyone seems to love to study the Greeks? Do you keep it more local and study how your country, state, and city came to be? Do you study the Big People- presidents, rulers, destroyers, megalomaniacs? Or do you study what the average person’s life was like at a certain period of time? Do you include people who fought against the existing circumstances to make life better for themselves and society?

Back to Quinn. I try to explain this idea to Quinn. That it doesn’t matter what kind of history the kids studied. What they study at the school will be different. He is the tiniest bit relieved. I think he’ll have to ask around for himself once History begins.

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