The other day on a particular homeschooling list one of the members posted some 'facts' about the Muslim culture as a "wow, isn't this cool?!" kind of post.
Very excited about this info - I forwarded it to a history buff acquaintance of mine - who then sent back to me some alternate information. It reminded me that, as with most people, I was ready to simply accept the information posted without checking it out myself one way or another. After all - what would be the reason to doubt the original information. It made me stop and remember that we must ALWAYS question 'facts'. When we don't we propogate mis-information, and worse, we create social memories that serve to induce false feelings of pride or regret (as applicable).
We must remember that we all (all nations, ethnic groups, religions, whatever) present selective historical memories (note I did not say facts). Some of these memories are the result of intentional desires to create a particular feeling (of pride, patriotism, particular social behavior, particular lessons, social morays, etc.), others are unintentional errors due to lack of knowledge of prior capabilities or assumptions.
I first learned this little lesson when I studied the North American Plains Indians in college - and compared that "knowledge" with what I had been taught previously in public school. Two very different stories. Evidence can be seen repeatedly in all nations, religions etc as leaders and educators want to create a particular image. I saw this very clearly in how recent history is presented in Russia today, versus during the Communist regime at different times, and even before that during Czarist Russia.
So - in hopes that as we all educate our children (and ourselves) we ask - what is the source of the information we have, are there alternate sources out there which present a different story, who gains (and what is gained) from the various stories, and how can we as conscientious people remain aware of the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) direction provided us by the society in which we live.
A final note - pay attention to how America presents 'facts' about the events going on around us now. How many of us question conclusions and sources? Without questioning and alternative sources of input - 'facts' are prepared and promoted throughout our society and become 'history'. Something to think about.
Linda, is a multi-tasking (translation: crazy) mom of three, homeschooling since 1992, world traveler, dreamer, writer (baker, chef and bottlewasher).