A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

4 to 50:Talk to Your Grandparents (part two--peace)

My grandmother (second to the left) with her siblings and the Great-Great Grands

I hadn't planned on two posts, but I don't think I can do one without the other. Today is Memorial Day and the idea is remember, remember?

My son's are still at Maple Grove and my wife and sister-in-law are still in Pratt, America.

But I'm not done. I have a friend whose area of expertise as a historian is genocide. He has studied the Holocaust and Rwanda and Darfur and ... (unfortunately there are too many 'ands' here). Its those 'ands' which are in my head.

What I am going to say next is going to put me on someone's list somewhere, and if it does, so be it. I would like to point out that I love my country and had the balls to serve it. I continue to serve it by entering a field of battle each day with a dozen 14-year olds; showing that the Rock 'em-Sock 'em Robots that is American History and Civics is messy but important. That being citizens can be a full-contact sport and you need to make sure you know how to play the game in order to be most effective.

Here goes:

National Pride has a shadow side that causes us to do horrific things in the name of country. Its easy to point to Africa and Europe and Asia and point to the ills of those regimes, past and present. But we need to remember our history is a complicated one as well. Native Americans. Slaves. The treatment of the Chinese and Japanese, not to mention other immigrant classes. Please note that I my goal is not to be a nationalistic buzz-kill. I think nationalism at its core asks us to look beyond our self-interest to our neighbor. I think it gives us leaders who become public servants over politicians. So I have an idea.

A recipe for National Pride: equal parts War and Peace...that's it. I am proud to have served my country and I thank God for those women and men who have and continue to serve. However, that is only have of the thought for today:


Part of remembering is remembering the peace part of that story and so here is my challenge for you this Memorial Day. Talk to a grandparent. Talk to a neighbor. Talk to each other. Ask those whose lives have been longer about the life before social media. Ask them about clothes lines. Ask them about train rides. Ask them about Benny Goodman. Ask them about ... You get the idea.

My Great Grandmother, her maiden name was Younger and was a distant cousin to Jesse James. There have been several discussions with my sons about whether having an infamous relative is a good thing or not. We are also supposed to be descendants of William Penn, but I will tell you that people are often more impressed at Jesse James and the Younger Brothers over William Penn--usually its, 'he's Quaker Oats guy, right?' Just sayin'.

My Great-Grandfather. When my grandmother would talk about him, it was clear she was a Daddy's Girl. Its hard to imagine the grandmother who had weathered the Depression, two marriages and raised almost a half dozen kids on her own that way, but I loved to hear that story.

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