History in Childhood

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The timeline of my 1st grader’s life according to him.

In a recent Social Studies lesson, my son was learning about timelines. The last activity on the page was to make a timeline of events in his life. Of course we began with when he was born. The only other events he chose to include were getting our dog and starting school. When the time came to add 2020, I asked what he wanted to record for current events.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Anthony is stuck at home.”

Those five words spoke volumes. They reflected how our current situation has defined this period in our lives. Stuck.

This assignment reminded me of a homework activity my daughter had last fall. She was to interview family members and ask what event they believed defined their generation. Both hubby and I believed that 9/11 was the defining experience for those of our age. My mother-in-law and father-in-law said Vietnam or Korean Wars. Greg’s grandmother said World War II and a tornado that had hit their hometown. It was funny to me how tragedies seemed to determine our identities. Why is it that we don’t typically use the advent of a new invention or success as the center to what we see in ourselves?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

Success is beautiful and uplifting, but tragedy builds character and resilience.

I guess we want to define ourselves by what makes us stronger not what makes us successful? OR Maybe what makes us stronger is what makes us successful.

So as we are working our way through the COVID19 crisis, let’s keep track of the struggles, successes, and ways we define who and what we are. Allow our adversities and actions to resemble the way we want history to view our generations at this time. Don’t allow the ideology of being “stuck” to be the trademark of this era’s birth. Let’s give the pandemic era of our personal histories a childhood that helps us grow in compassion, simplicity, and bravery. We aren’t “stuck” here; we are leaving our mark.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I was a bit bummed that my son didn’t want to add anything pertaining to his dear old mama on the social studies timeline, but when he told me, “It’s okay, Mom, you were there the whole time,” I was okay.

 

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