The Importance of History

We live in such a fast-paced world that sometimes we forget how important it is to look back on where we came from. History is so important so we can know what has shaped us as people, as society, as a country, and as a world. How can we possibly understand people from a different culture if we don’t take a moment to see some of their past?

History was one of my favorite classes in high school and in college, and it has been a favorite for one of our sons, as well. Michael, who is now the Manager of the Austin History Center, could have had a full ride at several universities had he pursued math and science, but he fell in love with history when he was a senior in high school.

Prior to his senior year, Michael had planned to study aeronautical engineering and I remember him asking if we would be horribly disappointed if he changed his mind and studied history, with a long-range plan of teaching.

I was shocked that he thought he had to ask that question. I never realized that he thought his dream had somehow become our dream for him. Maybe because we were always so proud of his talents in math and science and because we were so excited about the offers that had come his way. But I assured him that this wasn’t about us, or about money, it was about him pursuing a future that excited him.

So that’s what he did.

His plans to end up teaching got derailed along the way while he was studying for his undergraduate and first masters degrees, so he decided to get another degree so he could work as an archivist. He would still like to eventually end up at a university managing a history center and perhaps teaching, but he is happy now at the Austin History Center.

If you would like to see a video about the center and meet Michael, click HERE

My interest in history and sociology has benefited me as a writer in so many ways. That “wanting to know what shapes us” is a curiosity that leads me to many story ideas.

What about you? Do you have a similar curiosity that impacts your writing?

6 thoughts on “The Importance of History”

  1. What a sweet family story. A good reminder for me as a mother, to remember it’s not about what I want!

    I’m curious also, and love history even more now than when I studied it.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Julie and Carol. Nice to get your comments. I didn’t always remember to let go of what I wanted for my kids. It’s something I had to work at all the time, and I think it is harder for young parents today. Everything seems to be one huge competition.

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