What is so important about history? After all, it has already happened. There is nothing we can do to change it. So, what is the big deal? Why should we care about it at all? Actually, a vital part of a successful future is understanding the successes and failures of the past.
History should be studied and understood.
Learning the Present Through the Past
A leader of a country is about to make a major decision regarding another country. Knowing about that country’s past and how it has reacted before could mean the difference between a victory and all out war. We are the past. History is an ingrained part of each of us. Who we are comes from our ancestors, the cultures before us, and the decisions of leaders centuries before.
History is not just about stories of dead people. Yes, they lived long ago and are now gone, but it is so much more. It is the DNA of the world today. Why is there so much conflict in the Middle East? These issues just didn’t arise out of the ground yesterday. They are nothing new. Look at the history and understand the hurt, anger, and pain. You might not change your entire opinion over the events, but you’ll learn to understand each side and even change your stance.
Why do we see evidence of Europe in Asia? Check the history and see how the explorers reached out and began to share culture.
Why are particular days honored in cultures? Read their past and understand their present.
How can we reach out to other cultures? Learn their past and understand their heart. Only then can you know who they are and approach them in a positive manner.
Best Teacher Around is History
History is one of the greatest teachers you will ever find. Edmund Burke once said that if you wanted to avoid repeating mistakes of the past you should learn what those mistakes were and how they came about.
If you touched a stove while mom was cooking and it was hot, chances are it will be hot again when she is cooking. You learn a valuable lesson. It hurts when mom cooks on the stove. Therefore you don’t want to do it again.
You learn the same lessons reading and studying world history, geography, and western civilization. History is a guide book laid out before you. All you have to do is pick it up and read the best advice of all — the advice from experience.
Why Study History?
Why study history? It is fun, exciting, and needed for your journey through the ages ahead. What better map than the one drawn by the ones who have gone before? Do you go on a trip without looking at a map someone else has drawn because they have been there? Those maps are great that show construction so you can avoid it or anticipate it. I wouldn’t take a road trip across country without looking at a map to guide me.
And as you begin to see and understand the interweaving and intricacies of the past that have led us to where we are, you can add your own voice to the chorus and of those who have made the journey before you. You become a part of history.
How Can You Get Interested?
How do you develop an interest and enthusiasm for the past? Begin with watching movies on historical events. The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and the local PBS station offer many options. I love to go on YouTube and look for documentaries on interesting topics. Start broad. If you like a certain time period in history or a certain culture, look for documentaries on them. I have found great ones on British topics. That has led me to others I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Just browse through the options.
If you are interested to learn more, check your local library. You can find an amazing wealth of information on so many historical figures, events, and locations. Visit your local historical society to learn more about the town you live in. History is all around you. Check it out.
Don’t go into history thinking of it as boring. Think of what you are missing and look for the fun aspects. It can be seen as science or as religion. You can study how the planets were discovered. Guess what? That’s history. You can study how different religions spread across the world. Guess what? That’s history.
Note: This article was originally published on BellaOnline. I removed it to republish on another site. When I did that, I discovered it was stolen as an answer on Yahoo Answers. I am now banned from publishing on any other site.