Living History and Writing On the Wall
We talk of looking back on the old year as we step into a new one. I took it a step (maybe a mile) further. Friends introduced us to Adam’s Synchronological Chart or Map of History — a reprint of an old timeline. It has a 25-foot fold-out that shows worldwide events since God created Adam. I was instantly enamored by its exquisite detail. I ordered one for our family. Upon arrival, I stared at it for a good three minutes …
Then I ripped off the cover and cut it apart.
The kids didn’t know what to think. Usually I preach ‘handle books with care’ and ‘they are items to treasure’ — yet I stood before them with scissors and thumb tacks, disassembling a beautiful old map and … “Yes, kids, I’m going to stick it on the wall as a border.” My oldest daughter watched in earnest as I cut a square from the top of the map to fit it around the thermostat cover. And then something amazing happened.
The kids started reading the writing on the wall. In fact, my husband and I spent the better part of our New Year’s Eve hours walking to and fro, finding out facts and sharing them with each other. Because we know Biblical history and we’ve been taught world and American history … but we have never put them together and lined them up. This chart shows what was going on in China while Jesus was being crucified. I never realized that Shem, son of Noah, was alive for the first 50 years of Abraham’s life. Did they know each other? Did they talk about the flood? Seeing a complete view of the world in such a way is unique. Because in modern education we study specific people and events, we don’t put them together and connect the dots — at least not very often. Doing so is absolutely fascinating.
On New Year’s Eve morning the kids helped me hold the map and push pins into the wall. We decorated with the old antlers from the flea market and carried David back to the table. My son can’t stand that statue. He says the eyes are always looking at him (I’m hoping it’ll make him be more diligent with his school work). About 10 minutes after these photos were taken, the
dining room school room table was again loaded and stacked with books and papers and rulers and miscellaneous Lego pieces. Ear buds and laptops and tissues cluttered the free space. And I just sat and stared at the history surrounding me …
It’s impossible to begin a new year without a nod from whence we came … and looking at the wall, boy, have we come far. “What’s a bone comb?!” my son asked, as he examined the drawings of early tools. “It’s a comb made from bone!” I exclaimed. “Whoa. Wonder what animal has the best bones for combs?” Indeed.
Then he plopped down on the new bench and proceeded to build an M&M dispenser from Legos. The bench, a Christmas present, was made for us by my dad from tall trees cut down at the little church on the hill. I’ll admit I was upset when the church trustees determined those big tall trees had to go for safety reasons. They’d always been there! But they are saved … and repurposed … and their history continues to evolve. Like ours.
Simple things … rocks and leaves and trees and memories … should be collected and savored. For they are the keys to memory and memories the key to history. It’s good to be reminded of the past, especially when the future sometimes seems uncertain. From whence we came will certainly prepare us for come what may.
And it’s our job to remember and teach, to help future generations prepare for their own journey through history. If I have to tack a timeline around the room to help me, then so be it. It’s living history, after all. And I’m here to make sure they live — and know — it well!