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January 31, 2009

A Good Education

The other day I was driving Ollie and he asked me, "Is Ruby Bridges still alive?" I'm a little ashamed to admit that my answer was, "Ruby Who?" and he proceeded to tell me that Ruby Bridges was a brave little girl who was black but attended an all-white school in the South and people threw things at her and yelled at her but she didn't quit because she knew it was wrong that she wasn't allowed to go to this school just because she was black. So she prayed, and stayed brave, and eventually now there are no schools just for white people.

I was very thankful for the education!

That same day, Lyric was humming a beautiful song, and Darby and I asked her to sing it louder. She started singing the words and melody to "We Shall Overcome" perfectly. It was quite wonderful.

And this is my moment to say that I love how much the kids' school emphasizes these important times in U.S. History. I think it's fantastic that Ollie knows about this brave little girl, and that Lyric knows this beautiful song that galvanized a people.

I went to a small private Christian school, and somehow they never taught this stuff. Sure, they would mention MLK here and there, but truly it wasn't a part of the curricula - I learned more about MLK from one U2 song than I did in all my years at school.

And, considering Christianity's influence on ending slavery and then the Civil Rights Movement, I think that's a tragedy (truly, it's one of the very best things Christianity has done in America, in my opinion, and a template for how to keep the Christian faith alive and relevant in our society). Now maybe it's because our history books were so old that they ended with the intriguing but hopeful question, "Do you think that someday a man will be walking on the moon?" or maybe it's because there was one black girl in my whole class, ever, but somehow my school missed the memo on just how important all this was.

And I'm glad my kids' school hasn't.

Posted by jason on January 31, 2009 04:13 AM

Comments

Perhaps it is because the Civil Rights movement was mostly a triumph of the Christianity of black people, and that most white Christians were at best disinterested or resistant. Nowadays I think that it would be a great course to teach "we were wrong, we missed the boat, and this is important". I hope that the school that you mention does that.

I just talked to my teacher about my school's curriculum because of your post. Thanks!

Posted by: peaj on January 31, 2009 08:30 AM

Oh, I just loved this blog!!!! Dear to my heart! And thank God for Ruby and her bravery! I remember when I was first researching the history of America according to the minority groups--such a different perspective! I got comments from some other Christians feeling that I was getting to be a bit "socialistic!" Well, caring about all God's people is not socialistic, it's loving. I don't know why 20th c white Christians were so slow to care about the history of African Americans and other ethnic groups because historically white Christians have cared. But I am hoping things are changing and what you wrote gives me lots of hope. Maybe the world will be first in this and the Christian world will follow.

Posted by: Anonymous on January 31, 2009 10:21 AM

I just almost choked on my cereal when I read the ending question from your history book: "do you think a man will ever walk on the moon?" Hilarious.

So awesome that Ollie and Lyric are getting that education--it is invaluable.

Posted by: Jessica on January 31, 2009 11:21 AM

and p.s. IS Ruby Bridges still alive?

Posted by: Jessica on January 31, 2009 11:22 AM

Yes, she is.

Posted by: Joe on January 31, 2009 11:37 AM

perhaps its because private schools were started as a result of desegragation. Whites wanted to keep their education pure so it only makes sense that private schools aren't gonna go crazy discussing the triumphs of the black race. It's funny when I finally went to public school I was expecting the worst; you know teachers discussing tossing the baby out of the rowboat and random dance numbers in the cafeteria. Neither happened.

Posted by: joshua Latshaw on January 31, 2009 11:40 AM

perhaps its because private schools were started as a result of desegragation. Whites wanted to keep their education pure so it only makes sense that private schools aren't gonna go crazy discussing the triumphs of the black race. It's funny when I finally went to public school I was expecting the worst; you know teachers discussing tossing the baby out of the rowboat and random dance numbers in the cafeteria. Neither happened.

Posted by: joshua Latshaw on January 31, 2009 11:41 AM

perhaps its because private schools were started as a result of desegragation. Whites wanted to keep their education pure so it only makes sense that private schools aren't gonna go crazy discussing the triumphs of the black race. It's funny when I finally went to public school I was expecting the worst; you know teachers discussing tossing the baby out of the rowboat and random dance numbers in the cafeteria. Neither happened.

Posted by: joshua Latshaw on January 31, 2009 11:41 AM

Madelyn was able to tell me all about MLK recently which I thought was fantastic. Her school even celebrated the Chinese New Year with a week of studying about China leading up to the big day of celebrating, complete with a dragon. She knew so much about China when we talked about it! It was great. There are quite a few international students at her school so it's wonderful that they are all getting this cross-cultural education. And, she attends a local small Christian school here in PA. Of course, it's run by my husband so I shouldn't be surprised ;)

And, she has a wonderful first grade teacher :)

Posted by: Kate on January 31, 2009 01:51 PM

Josh--random dance numbers in the cafeteria would have been awesome!!! FAME! I'm gonna live forever...

Posted by: Jessica on January 31, 2009 05:13 PM

Jase - did you ever have Ms. Duncan and American Minorities? Well, if you had cared to take that class, then you would have learned all this and more! Maybe you cared more about your advanced Trig than really learning about our tainted past and glorious heroes. Shame on you :)

Posted by: Jonathan on January 31, 2009 09:21 PM

Smart kids!

I agree with Jess, random dance numbers in the cafeteria would have been awesome...in high school, I don't want it to happen when I am trying to get my pre-k students to eat their lunch! Of course, we DO dance around from time to time, and I have music playing throughout the day!!

Posted by: kathiek on January 31, 2009 11:32 PM

Jonathan – I was talking about elementary school! Although that minority class wasn't available when I went to WCS. We just had "Problems of Democracy," where we would do interesting simulations like, "You're crash-landed on a new planet and have to create the laws for this new society." Then we proposed laws, debated them, voted, and enacted them. Oh, and the first law that was enacted, despite my vigorous debate to the contrary? The Execution of Homosexuals.

I'm not kidding. That was the first law.

Posted by: jason on January 31, 2009 11:36 PM

Jason, that makes me sick.

How sad.

Posted by: Jessica on February 2, 2009 02:40 AM

Horrible, horrible about the First Law. I never knew that. Maybe you should notify the new school headmaster of this old ruling and ask whether it reflects the school's current position vis-a-vis homosexuals. Stuff like this needs to be exposed, in my view.

Posted by: Pop on February 3, 2009 02:11 PM

the thing is, it wasn't the school administrators--it was the students themselves who created that first law, correct?

I think it shows a break down in the home, that parents neglect to teach, and more importantly SHOW, love for all people.

Posted by: Jessica on February 3, 2009 05:42 PM

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