One of my favorite conference presentations is a concept I refer to as teaching inclusive history. It is my passion, and the foundation upon which I have educated our children and sought to educate others for a number of years now. I truly do believe that when we give our children a Godly heart for nations, we position them to change the world. In fact, I would state that helping them understand the power of investing in others helps them to lead the world around them.
When I begin the presentation, I list a series of questions that anyone who stayed awake through history class, or through the class of life, would be able to answer: the name of one founding father, the contribution of Sacajawea, the significance of Harriet Tubman to our country’s historical narrative, etc. Then, I list a few more questions. Among those are the following:
- What surgeon performed the first open heart surgical procedure in America?
- What scientist’s work with blood plasma led to the opening of blood centers?
- Who were the “Coolies”? What did they do?
- What was the importance of the Navajo tribe during World War II?
- What was Manzanar, and why is it a significant part of American history?
- Who was Cesar Chavez, and what was his contribution to fair labor practices in America?
The crickets I normally hear in the room when I ask how many people could answer all of these questions (or even the majority) become the jump-off point from which I then begin to share my heart: investing in others, i.e. loving others, includes learning about others and pressing toward a greater understanding of our common humanity.
The truth is that most history curricula approaches history from a Western European perspective, leaving out the experiences and viewpoints of many other cultures. African American history is reduced to three or four well-known people. Children do not learn names like Asa Philip Randolph or Cesar Chavez. In fact, they miss stories of Latino and Asian immigrants altogether. So when some would say, “Well, why isn’t there a white history month,” the fact is that we are taught “white” history each day. Not only is it required information for every living, breathing soul who considers himself educated, but our monuments, our currency and even the brand names of our products and services reflect that history. This month, and other months like it (read Women’s History Month in March and Hispanic Heritage Month in September), serve to highlight our history in a way that increases pride and understanding for all who embrace it.
In this interview with Rebecca Keliher of Home Educating Family, I discuss more of my thoughts on this month, inclusive history, and how to build a world changer.