Poor Columbus

Poor Columbus

Christopher Columbus has developed a bad reputation over time as an oppressor of people, an abuser of women, the destroyer of a culture.

This story has been slowly transforming the story of Columbus by people who want to influence other people’s opinions about a person who used to be revered as the one person who discovered the American continent which would later become our home.

It seems to me that this is being done, especially, by people with the idea that everyone must fall into some kind of victim status–and as victims, we must have someone to blame.

Worse than blaming poor Columbus–these people and ideas are influencing how the story–or the history–on how Columbus is being taught in schools.

In my childhood we were taught that “in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the Ocean blue…”, we were taught that thanks to him, Europeans continued to voyage to the Americas . That eventually led to the 13 Colonies that “soon”–in 1783–with the victory of the American Revolution,  became the United States of America.

Now students are being told that Columbus and his men deliberately killed native peoples, abused their women and stole their gold–by order, of course of the King and Queen of Spain–King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Here are a few truths–as I see them.  Native Americans did die.  The majority died of disease because they were not immune to the viruses that Spaniards brought with them. That is an accident of nature.

They also died from wars, because there were conflicts between the Spanish explorers and the Native Americans. Native Americans, not happy with these new people coming to their lands looking for their gold, attacked them. Spaniards fought back. Many died–on both sides.

Now some Spaniards were also cruel to Natives–who they saw as heathens, because they were not Christian.  Remember these explorations are occurring at the same time that the Spanish Inquisition was occuring in Europe–in which scores of people died for their religious beliefs.

As for the abuses hurled on women by the Spaniards.  Well, as with every century in every land and every culture–there are abuses. Women are abused by men, men are abused by women. This is not a new phenomenon.  This does not make it right–but it certainly was not a new situation, nor is it one which humanity has yet to solve.

These were horrible times in the world–but certainly not the fault of any ONE man.

In hindsight, I think we–as much smarter and humanitarian people of today–should be honest, at least with ourselves, that these new attacks on one person for all the perceived ills on the humanity of the Americas of the 1500s–are ridiculous.

Let the children have a hero in Columbus for doing something good. He was one of the first people from Europe in the Americas.

Keep in mind, if Columbus had not discovered the Americas–certainly someone else would have–and then I’m sure people would be blaming him.

So enjoy Columbus day! Celebrate the courage and innovation of a man and his crew to create progress in their time–so we could enjoy a wonderful country and a day off in ours.

Back to School Eve

Back to School Eve

Like Christmas Eve, the evening before an important day should be treated as a celebration.

So I proclaimed last evening Back to School Eve.

We celebrated by enjoying those around us, having a good meal and going to bed early in anticipation of the surprises that will come today.

Just like Christmas, today will be filled with gifts in the form of new students. Some will be presents we expected and are looking forward to.

Other gifts will be unexpected, like the home made sweater with Rudolf on it from Aunt Tilly.

But regardless, all the gifts are appreciated and welcome because they symbolize the beginning of beginnings.

So on the eve of new beginnings we should not feel tired and solemn because of the end of summer.

Remember that nothing lasts forever and all things come to an end–and that leads us always to a new start!

So remember to celebrate, dress up, share good food with good people and enjoy the presents! This time only comes once a year!

Merry Back to School Day!

The World of Crayola

The World of Crayola

Sometimes there is a smell of something in the air as you walk by that can instantly take you back 30 years!  It happens to me about once a year–when I go back to school shopping.

Now in my empty nest, my children no longer need school supplies–at least not the kind we purchased each year.  Notebook paper, rulers, Elmer’s glue are not on their list. College requires more sophisticated apparatus and techniques, of the electronic variety.

But I do go school supply shopping every year–for my classroom. My other kids.  And no matter what store I choose to go shopping in–when I get a whiff of brand new Crayola Crayons I am positive that I get a goofy smile on my face.

The smell of a new box of crayons takes me back to my first classrooms as a child. The excitement of a new year, the desire to impress and live up to my teacher’s expectations and knowing that most of the time, I did.

There were a few years–2nd and 4th grades–that perhaps were not my best, but using my crayons surely helped get me through the rough patches.

As I got older I made sure every year, whether I needed them or not–especially in high school–I would still put a new box in the cart.

And now–even though I don’t require them of my students in the secondary classroom–I buy a box for myself and put it in the top drawer of my desk–every year.

Somehow the box always disappears during the year sometime–it is quite the mystery since I never know where it goes.  I imagine however, that someone comes across it and also has a memory flash that brings them warm and fuzzy feelings.

Nonetheless, a new box is on the list, it gets purchased and goes back in the drawer–my own crayola talisman for good luck, good days and good lessons for the school year to come.

It is so important to tie positive experiences from our past to our present and future–and to hopefully pass down some of the wisdom that we acquire along the way–to those in our care.

If only life were always as simple as buying a new box of crayons each year–things would be so much clearer, happier and yes–more colorful.

Here’s to back to school shopping!  Enjoy every minute of it!  It only comes once a year!  And don’t forget the crayons!

 

The First Day of Summer

The First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer–not the first day of official summer–but really the first day of my summer…

When I am not blogging and researching and trying to figure out nutrition I am also a teacher.

Of small human beings.  Well at least, younger human beings…most of my students by the end of the year are taller than me.

So today I celebrate the last 182 school days–and all the accomplishments my younger humans and I have made!

My kids have learned all kinds of US History, some have learned to say please and thank you, and others have embraced the idea that they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it.

More importantly, my kids taught me all kinds of things as well. And for that I am grateful.

The year was excruciatingly long as school years can be and at the same time surprisingly short.

We taught and learned through an eclipse, a mega moon, Hurricane Harvey, a snowstorm this area has not seen in 10 years, and an early heat wave followed by the last frost of the season.

We call all that normal Texas weather–never predictable–just like each school year.

For today, I am setting aside lesson plans, nutrition plans, craft projects, decluttering ideas and meal prepping.

Because today is the first day of summer–for me and for my students.

I’m just going to enjoy today!  Let the summer begin!