Here’s what I hear from the “older people”. “Our young people today are lost.” Our young people today just don’t care.” “Our young people today are brainwashed.” Yet, consider this:
In 2013 I taught the Constitution 265 times. Of those 265 times, I had the privilege of teaching 21 groups of middle, high school and college students. The younger students are my greatest challenge but also my greatest reward.
I teach these future leaders of America a history they do not hear in the classrooms or read in their textbooks. Sometimes, I even teach them historical truth that corrects the historical revisions in their lessons.
I have learned that our students are hungry for truth. They do not begin their academic day with the thought, “Let me see how many lies I can learn today!” They learn things that are not true, because their textbooks present falsehoods as truth. Our youth love knowledge. They feel empowered by it. And, as our naturally rebellious nature would have it, they love learning things that their “overlords” don’t know. They love being able to correct their textbooks with facts. It is liberating for them. But that is what truth is all about. Being free from lies is Liberty! Jefferson wrote a letter to Charles Yancey, January 8, 1816 in which he remarked, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
There is another fallacy about our youth. We believe our students naturally hate history. Why wouldn’t they, we hated it too, it’s just a part of being young. Our youth do not hate history, they hate being bored. They have been conditioned to believe history is nothing but a boring and tedious ritual of memorizing names, dates, and places in history that they cannot relate to and that have no particular relevance to their lives. But I KNOW that method of teaching history is part of the progressive design to hide history and the lessons it teaches. I not only KNOW this in my heart, I KNOW this through my experience. Because the history I teach is NOT boring. It is NOT irrelevant. It is about real lives, real people, real drama, and real adventure. Our young people get excited when they meet Kings who are not presented as 700 year old corpses, but living, breathing people. They meet kings who are evil bullies. They meet the people who are brave, who stand up to the bullies in the name of Liberty. This history is just as exciting, if not more so, than Real Drama T.V.
They get to see, with their minds and imaginations, exciting events. Like William I taking control of a kingdom by force. Or, perhaps, Henry I killing his own brother to become king and then hiding the truth with lies and propaganda. Then there is King John, who was murdering people in the name of taxes and Robin Hood standing against John, the most evil king Great Britain would know. That is just the beginning of a drama that spans 700 years and unfolds right in front of their eyes. It is exciting, it is adventurous. I don’t talk about history. I put them right in the middle of it. I make them not only observers but participants. They love it and more importantly, they get it.
I know they get it because they ask me questions about the Constitution that proves they are paying attention; not just to me but to the world around them. They ask me more challenging and relevant questions than many of the adults I teach. My high school students ask me questions like:
“The NSA reading our emails and listening to our phones, that can’t be right, can it?”
“Can the federal government tell gay people they can’t get married?”
“Can the federal government make marijuana illegal?”
Yes! These are the questions I hear the most. You think the only thing they do is send text messages, tweet, play on FaceBook or video games? You are wrong. They are paying attention and they want to know the truth. They are not lost, lazy, and apathetic. They are not thoroughly brainwashed. They care. They are interested and they are paying attention. When they see the truth they recognize it and want more.
I get my greatest encouragement from these young people. They come to me after the lessons excited about history, wanting to know how they can find more truth. I had one high school boy come to me and say, “Mrs. Hall you gave me goose bumps! Why can’t I learn history like that in school?” Another young man said to me, “Mrs. Hall, I want to be president one day. After what you taught me today, I won’t ever let anyone take my rights from me.” I’m sure you can imagine how amazing it is to look into their eyes and hear these words from them in person. Invigorating! But what one middle school girl said to me the other day literally brought me to tears.
Whitney came to me after teaching at a government school in Southeast Texas. She asked me, “Mrs. Hall, how can you be so dedicated about what you teach?” I was confused by her use of the word dedicated, but I responded, “Whitney, I am a Christian. I believe Liberty is a gift from God. I also believe that God has given me this history to teach so others can know it, too.” She replied, “We have people who come and talk to us and they stand up there and talk to us like they are just doing their job. But you’re not like that. You’re just so dedicated, how do you do that?” I realize then that she is using the word “dedicated” to mean “passionate”. I said, “Well, Whitney, I believe the truth I am teaching you. But I also know that what I am teaching you is important to protect our Liberty. I want you to know that, too, so you can protect Liberty one day. I’m a mom. My son is almost 8 years old. And one day he will need YOU to stand up for him. I really believe in my heart that this is important. So it’s not a job for me. For me it’s more like love.” She said, “Well, thank you Mrs. Hall. I really enjoyed it!” At this point I am trying really hard to not cry in front of her. No such luck as soon as I get in my car!
Let us not underestimate our youth. Let us not teach them lies and then criticize them for believing them. They are the future of this country. They are the future of Liberty. They are ready to bring greatness back to America. Let’s help them do just that.