Today, history is one of the most widespread and popular subjects for discussion worldwide. There are different approaches both to the essence of history and its teaching methods. For instance, young people have expressed diverse concerns about the meaning of this subject at school curricula. There are people who support the idea that children should learn from the past stories facing valuable life lessons. They believe it helps preserve the culture and teach teenagers vital life skills drawing on the examples of their ancestors. Besides, this subject could be really interesting and breathtaking, presented in a playing form by experienced instructors. However, this point of view also has its opponents and counterarguments. The following paper gives a vivid description of the arguments that affirm the need to let juveniles learn stories of the ancient times.
Should Young People Learn from Past Stories?
Educating children by means of presenting different life lessons learned by their ancestors has always been considered as an issue of vital importance. However, the study of history has become a controversial topic, especially among the young people. There are two distinct opinions about the significance of cultivating this particular subject among the children. There are those who believe that history is critical to their ultimate well-being. Consequently, the lessons of history empower children to lead a balanced life in the future. On the contrary, some feel that history is composed of past events that intimidate their progress in contemporary life. Thus, it is critical to have the clear perspective on this issue.
Preservation of Culture
Understanding one's Origin
A number of reasons prove the significance of history for the younger generation. Firstly, the analysis of the past is imperative in helping the community to preserve their traditions and beliefs. History could assist children to understand their origin, as well as build the systematic view of the world. Through the learning of the history, a person could put together a comprehensive worldview, as well as, find their place in it (Corfield, 2008). The sense of belonging could not be overestimated. In fact, history gives people self-identity that enables them to co-exist peacefully with other members of the society. When young people gain knowledge on how their communities came into being, they will definitely appreciate their own existence more. Consequently, they will be able to share their vast experience with the future generations, continuing the traditions and the name of the game.
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Knowledge of Cultural Practices
Secondly, when young people study history, they become familiar with the cultural practices of their community. Mc Farland (n.d.) emphasizes that it is only through comprehending the older generation's way of life that young people could gain insight into their own experience. In other words, it unravels the mystery of mankind's existence. For instance, there are communities in the developing world that practice circumcision. It used to be a rite of passage that transited a boy into the adulthood. However, currently, male circumcision is carried out as a means of reducing the rate of HIV. Moreover, despite the modernization that characterizes this cohort, some cultural practices are vital in helping people know the pillars that held their forefathers together.
Thirdly, historical education is imperative for the young people as it highlights the numerous challenges that the community encountered. It is vital to note that people nowadays have the lower level of resilience to problems as compared with their ancestors. Nevertheless, studying their origin modern people could plunge into the atmosphere of hard times that were habitual for their forefathers. Wolfe (2002) elaborates on the wars and conflicts that have cyclic nature and could eventually pass from one epoch to another. Thus, learning history young people are prepared to face possible difficulties with stamina.
Source of Entertainment
Nothing has been found to be more glorious and entertaining as the stories of the past. The young generation is separated from their ancestors with hundreds of years where totally different lifestyle and values were possibly common. Thus, it is a great chance to look into the ancient times and learn the examples of famous personalities. For instance, olden stories narrate the heroic figures that brought immense changes to the society. The South Africans still idolize the sacrifice their great leader had to give in order to attain the independence of the nation. The example of a person who was jailed for the 27 years in severe conditions nurturing the idea of national pride of the Africans has inspired many a generation. Wolfe (2002) put the special emphasis on the encouragement of the young people with historical heroic figures: "It exposes the youthful person to the heroic aspect of possessing your thoughts and ideas." Thus, the history is also important in the context of the spiritual education of the youth.
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History also enables a person to visualize the experiences of the people from the past. In other words, it acts as a connecting gear of past, present, and future generation. It is significant to note that at every stage of life, an individual face the people who appear to be older than they. Nevertheless, a person is expected to communicate with them despite the huge generation gap. By learning the stories from the past, youth can comprehend how to appropriately interact with older people. Corfield (2008) reaffirms the point by noting that every human being is a living history. In essence, our great grandchildren will also desire to learn the way we lived in our time. It will give them an opportunity to appreciate the value of technological progress that changes the world beyond recognition. For instance, while right now passing of information is one minute act, history teaches us how messengers would spend numerous miles on a journey to deliver a message. Therefore, one gets to appreciate life in its dynamics
The stories of the old times are also presented in a simple and clear manner in the course of the history. In fact, the contemporary era is full of complexities of different kinds. Consequently, teenagers are bound to find their ancestors' lifestyle calm and quiet, as well as easy to perceive. However, one must have a positive attitude towards the learning process.
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Empowering the Youths with Vital Life Skills
Enhancement of Thought Life
Learning the course of the history has been found to enhance brainwork of an individual. Reese (2013) highlights that children who are exposed to knowledge of the ancient days demonstrate a better understanding of other people's views. In fact, the skill is imperative in the school life of the child. For instance, it is apparent that some of the lessons that children learn in school are very complex. There are particular subjects that are challenging to most of the children. However, the research indicates that the awareness gained through the history studying sharpens one's learning skills. Children are able to face the complexities in elementary institutions bravely. Moreover, they can easily join the university without much hindrance.
Acquisition of Virtues
There are life virtues that an individual acquires in the process. It is essential to bring out that success in life is greatly dependent on the habits and characters of an individual. Reese (2013) notes, "Adolescents with a stronger knowledge of family history have more robust identities, better coping skills, and lower rates of depression and anxiety." In other words, one gets to know how to manage the frustrations and stressful situation in their lives. Needless to say, the present generation is full of immense challenges that an individual is to accept.
Harmonious Community Living
Finally, history proves that youth can emulate their forefathers' example. It is important to note that most of the teenagers are trained toward self-independence. In fact, they do not know how to live harmoniously with the rest of the society. Most of them display rebellious behaviors towards parents who try to correct their behavior. However, Corfield (2008) emphasizes that history gives children an opportunity to understand the broad span of human life. They find out what every member of the society needs in order to live well.
From the supportive arguments highlighted, it is clear that young people ought to learn from the stories of the past. Besides preserving the communities, history is a source of entertainment and vital life skills. Consequently, I believe the education system should embrace it at every level. After all, it is strongly desired to have the society that is rich in all its dimensions.
- Corfield, P. J. (2008). All people are living histories – which is why History matters. Making history.
- McFarland, M.A. (n.d.). Citizenship, social studies, and the age of the Internet. Social Studies School Service.
- McNeill, W.H. (1985). Why study History? American Historical Association.
- Reese, E. (2013). What Kids Learn From Hearing Family Stories. The Atlantic.
- Wolfe, J. (2002). Learning from the past: Historical Voices in Early Childhood Education. New York, NY: Piney Branch.