Usually, history is one of my favorite subjects. My kids can tell you that I love history, so long as it is a study of people, of their habits, reasons for living in certain areas, foods and the preparation of those foods, clothing/textiles, and the like. I love these aspects of history.
We play civilization games, such as Age Of Empires [AoE]. I shudder to think of how much money, over the years, I have spent on buying & rebuying the disks for the game. It was super expensive when it first came out – I can remember spending $50 for it, early on. Now, I can get disks online for next to nothing. We also play Age of Mythology [AoM], for the Greek, Roman & Nordic archetypes & mythological aspects of it. While I like to play these games, I most like to play them from an economic standpoint. My 17-year-old son likes to play them from an attack & conquer standpoint. Very traditional male v female viewpoints, I know. I admit here something that only my children have known, for years: When I first started playing these games, I would sometimes cry over the deaths of these tiny little pixelated humanoids on my screen. It took me forever to bring myself to ‘smite’ unneeded or extraneous people. I hated watching them crumple up and decompose on the spot. To this day, my son will sometimes school me on weapons and tactics. If the world ever goes sideways, I hope he is on our side.
I do not like war, though I accept that it is sometimes unavoidable, and even necessary. For years I have had a deep antipathy to the subject of WWI. It was not only avoidable, but utterly unnecessary. Completely senseless. Countries lost entire generations of their best and brightest young men. Children who *should* have been born (ghostly grandchildren) never existed, except in the anguished cries in the hearts of a generation of would-be, and never-were, grandparents. These things make my heart ache, make it difficult for me to teach these subjects. Not impossible, but requiring a steadfastness of heart to teach my children the past foolishness of humanity, always with the hope of instilling in them the willingness to try almost everything before acquiescing to the human drive to violence.
Then, we come to WWII, and Hitler, and the Death Camps, and so many millions dead, simply because they were something that the National Socialists felt shouldn’t exist. Gypsy? Kill them. Homosexuals? Kill them. French? Dutch? Austrian? Catholic? Kill them, kill them all, if they disagree with the Nazis. Did I mention that Nazis were Socialists? Because THAT is a point I try hard to get into my kids heads & hearts. Anything that destroys, that takes away your freedom to choose, to exist, to be, is EVIL.
We just finished watching “I Never Forgot You” on Netflix. It’s the story of Simon Weisenthal, and his work, after surviving the camps, searching for & bringing to justice the murderers who operated those camps. Low-key and understated, this is an excellent film that focuses on the positive effect Mr. Weisenthal had on the world. It’s a positive film, but the watching of it has left me needing two aspirin and a walk with the dog.
When I come back, with a clearer head and a happy dog, I will be better able to discuss, with children, how these sorts of things happened, what actions and thought processes went into the creation and acceptance of a liberal, progressive, socialist, Earth-loving regime that decided the easiest, most convenient answer to their ‘problem’ was to exterminate an entire race of people. We will be using a book called “Set Up and Sold Out” by Holly Swanson, to discuss the modification of this mindset, and it’s transplantation in our modern day culture. I think I’m going to need a LOT of aspirin.