Do we really know who we are?


Now I can tell you, all my friends from any country around the world, which I can say covers A LOT of countries can recite their national anthem, can tell me who their past leaders were, what their countries/ cities are significant for in the course of their history, what issues are current and where they want their future to go. How many Bermudians can recite the national anthem (especially the youth) maybe that is because we may not feel connected to United Kingdom enough to learn the anthem or due to our nation not being independent is the reason for quite a few social issues? We can save that for another day, but in this setting, the post sets up quite nicely actually.

My father asked me to pick him up at Nellie’s walk the other day, ‘’Where?’’, I replied.  I will be honest it took me a long time to figure it out. If you know where it as soon as you hear the name, then great, but I am sure I am not the only one who had to think long and hard. Now, if my generation has a hard time knowing, what chance does the generation after us have? This information should be known by all Bermudians alike, from streets to parishes to premieres to local influential people and much more. I asked a few primary school kids who founded Bermuda and where was our first capital. They all looked at me with pondering eyes, scratching their heads, most said ‘’I dunno’’, the others looked very curious to find out the answer, but sadly they could not tell me. This is a crying shame that our kids today do not know how and who first found the country they live in.

I truly blame the educational system for taking out the social studies that once was a major part of our children’s development, when I was progressing through primary school and I am sure those before me had experienced the same thing. Now, when I left primary school at 11-12 years old (When middle school system had just started in Bermuda for a few year running) around the year 2000. I went on to secondary school and completed it with zero Bermudian history taught to me, whether it was private or public schools, none of my counterparts were taught Bermudian history. Really? I left Bermuda at the age of 15 to attend boarding school in the U.S. now to graduate from my school; I had to complete a certain level of history, now not just world history, but American history as well. I find history very interesting; however I felt to myself, why do I need to take a full semester of American history? It was clear, I was now living and studying in the U.S and it is integral to the American life to know, appreciate, and understand the struggles their forefathers went through to build the nation they live in today. (Now whether the right information was taught, that is another topic, but at least they had the opportunity to find out a part of how the country began to know where it will go in future).

Why is it, that, social studies were taken out of the primary school education? Do our kids not need to know their history? Why do we not learn Bermudian history in secondary school whilst we learn American and European History? Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is important to learn World History, however all these other countries we learn about, do you think, they are teaching our history? I frankly don’t think so, they teach their youth their own history first and then the rest. We have our model wrong in this country which is one of the reasons in my opinion, to why our youth are very different from their grandparents. There are most likely multiple factors as to why this is the case, however I want to express the need for this knowledge to be passed on to our children. Not only for the sheer knowledge of who we are, where we came from and how we got to where we are today, but also to impart a sense of patriotism, nationalism and respect for each other for whom reside in this beautiful country we call our home. Nellies walk, by the way is the pedestrian in front of city hall where the fountains used to be. Do you remember the fountains?

George Santayana who went down in records for the famous phrase ” those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it”. History is just as important as the present and the future.

According to Author Stacia Deuctch, (Her article: Why Should We Teach our Children History) history is full of benefits. She notes that

•             History enhances judgment and decision making i.e. History serves a current generation with instances where good and bad decisions were made. This eventually forms a basis of learning and virtual aid to any crucial judgment or decision making. Most judicial systems around the world borrow heavily from historical circumstances in the course of delivering justice

•             It presents the opportunity to learn from examples of the past

•             It allows one to realize where say a society is coming from and just how so much has changed.

•             History provides or serves a good understanding of the people and their culture.

Even though a generation has left History in the past, it is very important to understand it. Historical experiences occupy very important positions as sources to which people can make reference and enhance learning. Though not obvious, history applies to an individual in all aspects of his/her daily life situations. History plays a central role in how the present is viewed, whether we like it or not as past experiences largely influence “today’s” decisions. Experiences of the past largely influence today’s decisions. History is not just about dates and past events. It is a phenomenon that is very current, valid and influential to the shaping and subsequent creation of our societal futures.

Without history, a society shares no common memory of where it has been, what its core values are, or what decisions of the past account for present circumstances. Without history, we cannot undertake any sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues in our society. And without historical knowledge and inquiry, we cannot achieve effective participation in the processes of level governance and the natural implementation of our society moral ideals.

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