The Best Lesson Learned from a History Field Trip

It’s a Personal Paradise Tuesday day again today! I hope you are finding something in your day to cherish as a special perspective. Today I was reviewing pictures of a recent day trip I took with my oldest boy. It was a great experience! In order to get some physical activity and for some of the boys to work on earning a merit badge, my son, some of his boy scout troop, and a few parents took a recent Saturday and participated in a 10 mile hike that culminated with a trip to visit Mount Vernon, the home of our first President, George Washington. If you have never been to this historic landmark – I highly recommend it. It is the most beautiful property with amazing peeks into what our founding father’s life was like. The experience includes viewing the working farm, the mansion, and the grave of this fascinating person of history. But today I am reflecting on the best lesson I can take from this historic trip.


The view along our hike. |
The view along our hike.


On this particular trip the boys tend to hike at their own speed and therefore often break off into smaller packs of slower and faster hikers. They have a chance to chat and enjoy each other’s company before taking in the sights of Mount Vernon. When we arrived, we took the mansion tour together and then allowed the boys and parents to explore the rest of the land at their leisure before meeting up again to carpool home. 


George Washington's carriage - doesn't that look fun? |
George Washington’s carriage – doesn’t that look fun?


One of the things that I enjoy the most about this kind of trip is watching the boys interact with both each other, and with history. How fascinating to see what each boy finds the most interesting! Even better is to listen to the questions that they chose to ask the docent. I get something new out of these kinds of trips each time as I see the experience it through their eyes. (My son’s favorite part is the key to the Bastille hanging on the wall in George Washington’s foyer!)

My special Personal Paradise moment today is reflecting on the intriguing thoughts stimulated by watching my son take in history, and wondering how he will fit in to the world’s history as he grows. Of all the things I could learn on this trip, I took advantage of a special perspective to consider what contributions we all make to the world. Just picture what the world will look like in another 50 years. Or a hundred. Or more! Not only can I consider what my contributions might be, but what am I doing with my children that will affect the impact they will each have on the world? Am I raising them with the values that I want to see reflected in our future? Do they have a sense of responsibility to the world and how they can shape it for the better? What do they see at the site to inspire them and how do they fit it into their world view?


It is a working farm, complete with bits of history around the grounds! |
It is a working farm, complete with bits of history around the grounds!


For my own son I found him to be intrigued and ready to participate in the experience. That alone is half the battle when trying to engage our children in history’s lessons. We have the opportunity to see in our children the way they view history and attempt to engage them in how they are a vital part of it – even now! What a gem to be able to show them that they can do great things! And even better than that – that some of the things they do now may not be viewed as great for quite some time, but you never know who your actions will affect and how it may impact the world. So the argument must be made that we must strive to live as we believe to be right and pray that our work will pay off in the future – even if that is a future that we may not get to see! 

Have you ever caught a glimpse of history through your children’s eyes? Do you feel like you are teaching them what you hope they will be able to use or are you getting distracted with the day-to-day stuff and not making your message clear? That is one area that I struggle with frequently, but I hope I am making progress. I’d love to hear what you see! 


Here is a close up of one of the holiday trees decorating the museum this time of year.  |
Here is a close up of one of the holiday trees decorating the museum this time of year.


Kiss your kids and hug them tight and at least they will know that they have a special place in the world – the rest is up to them!

Peace and health,


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