Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Most Valuable History Lesson

Nathaniel had to write a book report for his college American History class. My brother-in-law, Stephen, had recommended The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. It fit the professor's criteria, so I ordered it.

Nathaniel concluded from his reading of it that the New Deal did more damage than good. The author, Amity Shlaes, builds a very detailed case for this, so detailed that Nathaniel thought he would surely drown in its swirling dark sea of information. He could not wait to be through with the book.

I was terribly disappointed that he did not enjoy it. I had hoped it would ignite an interest in current events and thereby teach him how much he can learn from history.

He didn't learn that.

What he learned came a week or so later when he had to read about the New Deal in his history textbook and use that information to answer the professor's question in the online forum.

"Mom!" he cried from the computer. "My history textbook says the New Deal was a good thing! What do I do now?"

My heart soared! Here was true education at last!

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