Hallo, Leute! Phew! It’s finally Friday! I don’t really know what it was about this week but man, I just felt exhausted all week long so I’m glad that it’s finally Friday! For today, I thought that I’d talk a little about something that’s really important to me: history. I know firsthand that history is a subject that receives a lot of hate. And I get it. Up until fifth grade, history was my least favorite subject. I’d go to history class dragging my feet, absolutely dreading the class. But in fifth grade, when I started taking US history, that all changed. Maybe it was the teacher, maybe it was the textbook, or maybe it was just that I was ready to look at the world through different eyes. But something inside of me changed and I fell in love with history. And, from fifth grade onward, history has been one of my favorite classes. Throughout most of my schooling, English and literature were my favorite classes all of the time. I loved reading, writing, and well… everything connected to those subjects (and still do today)! But, around high school, history became my favorite subject, English and literature trailing just barely behind. The day I realized this, I was pretty shocked at myself. What had changed? To be honest, I’m not quite sure but today, I thought that I’d talk about why I think history is important.
People always say: “Why’s history so important? It’s in the past.” I myself had this mentality prior to fifth grade. Now? Now I think that the answer to this question is so easy and simple. History teaches us a lot of things. It teaches us about culture, it teaches us about what shapes cultures, and it teaches us about our lives today. Yes, the past teaches us about our lives today. So, why’s history important? History is important because it shapes us. History is the story of us. And that’s what’s so fascinating to me. In fifth grade, I started taking US history and it was in that class that I felt happy and grateful to be an American and fascinated with my own story. My family is in no way connected to colonial Americans. My mom’s family is from Japan and my dad’s family is from Germany. But I myself am an American but it wasn’t until I started taking US history that I realized exactly what being an American meant. In US history we did some work with civics too and that was what really fascinated me. That was what made me think: “Man, history is really important. It’s fashioned and shaped the world I live in today.”
One thing that I always tell my siblings when they whine about their history classes is that we ourselves are writing history even as we go about our daily lives. We’re living what will be history to our children, grandchildren, and the generations that come after. And to me, that’s exciting. I look at a history book and see the stories of these people—real people—who lived real lives. I look at a history book and see how their choices have impacted my life here and now in the craziness that is the 21st century.
Loving history has changed me. And for the most part, I think that I’m better because of these changes. Sure, history has made me a bit of a cynic. History is full of tragedies. Tragedies like genocide, religious persecution, and other such horrible things. And yet, history is full of triumphs. Before I really took the chance to look at history with open eyes, I had no idea what being an American was all about. I didn’t know a thing about the government system. I didn’t know a thing about cultures all over the world. But now, after becoming truly interested in history, I know a lot about other cultures and I know a lot about my own. I know what ideas formed what America is today. I know what ideas formed how I think.
You see, a lot of people see history as just a bunch of dead people and well… their past. But I truly believe that history is the story of mankind. I, always having loved stories, was greatly intrigued by history when I started thinking about it this way. But what really kicked me into this love of history? The idea that I’m reading the story of people that have come before me but that what I’m living is also going to go into this huge storybook that is history and one day, it’ll be there for people to learn from. My own name will probably not be on the pages of a history book someday but when my kids ask me: “Hey you know that thing that happened twenty years ago?” I’ll be able to know that I lived through that event. And maybe this is just me as a writer talking but the idea that every day I’m co-writing what will be history one day with the rest of the people in this world is astonishing and absolutely awe-inspiring.
So, that’s it for me guys! What are your thoughts on history? Vielen Dank und tschüss!