Thursday, March 3, 2011

Witnessing History, Witnessing Life

The two items for today's blog post both came from my son, who complains that I don't mention him often enough in my writing (so here you go, Honey Babe.....).

One came via one of his pithy emails (he does not share his mother's tendency to wax on and on in writing).  This was the entire email:
 Blog About it!

So I checked it out, and it was a GREAT SITE!  It is called Eye Witness to, and its tag line is: History through the eyes of those who lived it.  It has first person accounts of events in history ranging from the Ancient World to 20th Century America.  Some of them are by famous people who were writing about pivotal political events, while others are ordinary people describing different aspects of life.  I'm a great advocate of personal accounts of other times and other cultures, because I think it can really personalize history and make it more real to students of any age.  Most sources are text, but it also has some  photographs, audio recordings, and videos.  It's a good educational resources when you are working on history with your middle schooler.

The second came this afternoon when we were driving in the car after I had rushed him through history so I could rush him through math so I could rush him through lunch so we could get to art class on time.  While he wasn't resisting any of this (he's pretty used to it after twelve years of it), he simply remarked as we were driving that "I think the secret to happiness is not caring about time."

I realized that, while my son may be a little TOO unconcerned about time, I probably have been overscheduling us lately.  So after art class and some errands, we came home and I scrapped some of my plans for the rest of the day.  Instead, I took a walk to the library to return some books and to pick up some new ones, noticing that not only were the flowering apricots and Bartlett pears and cherry blossoms out in full force (well over a month before the predicted peak week of their more famous peers in my old hometown of Washington DC), but the dogwoods were starting to bloom as well.  I had just assumed those white trees we were zooming by in the car were Bartlett pears, but they weren't.

It reminded me of those classic lines from that great life lesson movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Ferris says "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

So tonight I'm turning off the computer and putting away the to do list, and I'm going to enjoy time with my family and read a book.  Sometimes you need those reminders from the mouth of babes (Honey Babe, in this case, which is one of my pet names for my son) that all too quickly our days turn into history, and we shouldn't be so busy studying the lives of others that we miss our own.