Little Rebels: Applied History

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Don’t let those sweet, innocent faces fool you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite things about homeschooling my children is that I learn so much alongside them. It seems like I enjoy an “ah-ha” moment every few days.  This week I experienced one of those moments, with additional implications.

We are studying US History again. I emphasize “again” because, let’s face it, US History is relatively brief. However American school children typically hit it three times during their twelve years of schooling, digging deeper each time, so I comply.  This year, however, I am widening the net to put American history in the context of the political and social events of the rest of the world at the same time.  To that end, I have been reading aloud to my children an excellent book, The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster.

It was in reading this book that I experienced a big “ah-ha”.  I knew that the Netherlands (Protestant)  were once ruled by Spain (Roman Catholic). I knew that Philip II of Spain desired to dominate all of Europe and put down all forms of the Protestant Reformation. What I did not know was that in 1581 the Netherlands issued the “Act of Abjuration”, kind of their own little “Declaration of Independence”. Don’t these words from the preamble sound hauntingly familiar?

“Whereas God did not create the people as slaves to their prince to obey his commands whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects, to govern them with equity and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, [therefore] when he does not behave thus, but oppresses them, seeking to infringe on their ancient customs and privileges, then he is no longer a prince but a tyrant and the subjects may legally proceed to the choice of another prince for their defense.” (page 20)

 

How surprised I was see to read this, especially since it predates not only our own Declaration of Independence, but also predates even John Locke (you know, the “pursuit of life, liberty, property” guy). What followed, of course, was a discussion of the responsibility of rulers to their subjects, getting about as deep as you can with elementary-aged boys who prefer to wrestle.  I figured my “ah-ha” moment was lost on them . Or was it?

The next morning I was tidying up the toy closet and there I found it on the floor.  Some of my little boys had written their own Declaration of Independence. I am uncertain who penned it; it looks like a group effort.

They started by enumerating faults :

1.he’s a coward
2.a bully
3.selfish
4.Cares only about himself
5. A wimp
6. He’s weak
Resons we Revolt:
Your a bully.
We’d rather Nick as a leader.
You never let us play.
We’re tired of be cammaned by YOU.
Consitusion,
We Ages 4-9 want to be free.  We have reasons.  1. were tired of being bullied around, 2. so we have freedom from you.  This is the consitusion of us all.
Sighned, Timothy, Christian, Stephen
 

While that is not the reaction I desire my children to have in the face of conflict, it did signify one thing.

They WERE paying attention. 

Comments (1) Nov 12 2012