History, Geography, and Mr. Speckhals

237365683_oEver since I can remember, I have loved learning about the past.  It all started as a little five year old boy watching a cartoon movie I vaguely remember called The Rescuers Down Under.  I first realized my love for history and geography then, and specifically during a certain part where they showed a world map and a few places an urgent message traveled to.  I had a Fisher Price Globe that lit up and everything–on it I followed that part of the movie when the message traveled.  It was on that globe that I began to learn about all of the places on it–starting with oceans and continents, then going into countries, mountains, cities, and landmarks.  Then my parents got me my first world atlas as a gift, and a road atlas too.  You may think I’m weird–getting a road atlas as an eight-year-old, but there’s something in me that enjoys studying maps and knowing exactly where I’m at.

As a first grader, I had my first history class.  It was there that I learned about what was in those places I had studied on the map.  I think it started with American history, then eventually world history.  I just loved learning about the history of the world.  When I started to attend a Christian school as a second grader, my teachers from then on taught about how God was the one who shaped history, and the Life of Christ was the very focal point of history.  Specifically, these are my favorite periods and subjects of history:

  • Biblical times
  • Ancient Near-eastern empires
  • Ancient Greece
  • The Crusades
  • Colonial Americas
  • Crimean War
  • Civil War
  • British Colonialism
  • The Second World War
  • The Arab-Israeli Wars (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1981)
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union

Then there are a few things that I wish I knew more about:

  • Ancient Egypt
  • The Indian Subcontinent
  • Oriental History in general
  • Ancient Africa
  • South American anti-colonialism
  • European history from about 1550-1800
  • French “Revolution”

Some people despise history.  That is up to them, I guess–their loss!  I am not particularly fond of mathematics or penmanship either, though both are necessary.  This is a small excerpt from a paper I wrote in college about the importance of history in education:

Does history matter?  This is a question of many students in today’s modern educational realm.  Traditionally, some form of historical education is taught from kindergarten up into a student’s latter secondary school years.  Yet many young people fail to realize this subject’s vast importance in a curriculum; translating into an indifference toward history, which later results in an adult ignorant of the past.  A view of the past shapes every man’s life.  As a Christian, one should have a thirst for some history as a part of education.  The lack of appreciation toward history indicates some ingratitude toward the Bible, because so much of it is historical.  From history, one can obtain a proper worldview of the past, thereby resulting in a proper view of the present.  McClay (1995) discusses the importance of history this way: “Historical consciousness means learning to appropriate into a biblical moral imagination, learning to be guided by it and the distilled memory of others: the stories we never can experience firsthand.”


And I write this article to say this: I can’t wait until all of my history books are here with us at our new home!  You see, they have been in storage at my parents house since we moved to Pennsylvania, and we didn’t think we would have room to bring them.  Alas though, they will be here when my family comes for Thanksgiving.  A big thank you to my parents for wanting to bring them!  I have most of my devotional and theological books; but literature, geography, and history I am lacking.  We’re also looking forward to seeing Andrea’s family here during Christmastime–especially her dad, who will love to see the US Mint in Philadelphia, Independence Hall, and of course his daughter and son-in-law!

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