Do you remember those, seemingly countless, moments through school where you wondered where you’re ever going to use this information in real life. In ninth grade I remember asking a friend where Japan was, a day before my geography exam, and them not knowing either. I did not see the value of geography and history, and very much thrived and prioritized sciences and math as I could see why those were important. If you know anything about me you know I like to travel and therefore in one sense geography has become my most used knowledge, in which almost all the knowledge was acquired post graduation. Moreover, history is something that I now go out of my way to learn more about and I can now see the significance of knowing as much as possible about it. History of my country, history of other countries and history of the world – what was done right and should continue, as well as what was done wrong and should never repeat itself. Make a mistake once, shame on that, make a mistake twice, shame on you. We must teach our children, and their children, and their children after that the history we have learned, especially the things done wrong. As they never have the chance to fix things if they’re making all the mistakes we’ve already made. The knowledge is there, the real life testing – resulting in the lives of millions is there, and the results are in. We just need to spread it. I have learned an insane amount of information through travel that I truly believe I never would have learned if I didn’t leave Canada. European history surpasses Canadian history by thousands of years, and they’ve had many more actions and reactions that we can learn from. History doesn’t need to repeat itself in order for people to step up.
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupilsHector Berlioz
One of my first realizations that I knew very little about even World War history was on my trip to Budapest. I remember walking down the riverside and seeing a series of little shoes lined up all on the rivers edge. My first thought was on how cute it looked and how there were children’s shoes, and old men’s shoes, as well as dancing shoes and fancy shoes. I then made my way down all the shoes and found a plaque at the end. The shoes are a memorial of the Jews killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. I was shook as I had no idea that Budapest was involved in the war whatsoever as the Canadian history curriculum was very limited to the Germans, the French, a little bit of Netherlands and of course the Canadian and Americans coming in to help end the war. The reality of the WORLD WAR and how everyone was affected, and how so many countries still are greatly affected is something that should not be forgotten.
My trip to Germany three weeks ago was a huge smack in the face on the repercussions of not being involved in your countries politics, as well as the insane power of manipulation and the things people will do to be on the more powerful team. Hitler was elected in, fair and square, no doubts about it. People were taught to treat other people like animals, and did everything they could to kill them with the least amount of guilt. We visited a concentration camp just north of Berlin, where we saw the grounds where thousands of people, dressed and shaved to take away their humanity and make them less personable, were beaten and killed by people who convinced themselves they were the good guys, getting rid of the bad guys. I walked through a bunker, where my feet were killing me from the dense pavement after walking around for mere hours, and realizing the reality of the lives of those that lived in the bunker for fear of their lives during the war. The bunker went through a museum called Hitler. How did it happen? As we think that with educated people in the world how could such a terrible person get into a spot of that much power. Yet it all made sense, a little charm, a little trickery and next thing you know.
Of course, not all history is as depressing as the World Wars, some are beautiful and leave behind beautiful museums, cathedrals and Castles that remain. Some history follows the fight to Women’s rights and the steps towards the end of racism and homophobia. While I still believe the world has a long way to go to have Peace, we’ve done a lot of things good, and we are learning more with every generation. Through Travel and Education and spreading the beautiful and tragic things we find in the world we can help to create a future of Peace and Sustainability for our children and grandchildren and so forth. I enjoy being a small speck in this beautiful world and I think it’s important to remember that not one of us being perfect can change things, but all of us doing little things to better the world will ultimately lead to a beautiful future!
The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill and the willingness to learn is a choice. Choose wisely my friends!