Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A History Lesson

I just talked to Little Dif. I usually ask her what she learned in school that day. Today she told me she learned that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president because he freed the slaves.

It's a good thing she couldn't see my face because I was rolling my eyes so far back in my head it probably looked like I was possessed. I hesitated to try to explain the truth of the matter to her. Is she old enough to understand? I decided to go for it.

The first thing I asked her was, "Do you know what a slave is?" She wasn't very clear on the concept. She knew it had to do with people working but she didn't understand the part about one person owning another person so I explained that.

Then I proceeded to explain to her that even though Lincoln did sort of free the slaves that they would have been free anyway because more people were starting to realize it was wrong. I told her that the real reason for the was wasn't because the states in the South wanted slaves. They wanted to be their own country and the states in the North didn't want them to and so Lincoln started a war with them so to prevent them from being their own country. I explained to her that Lincoln didn't free the slaves in the North right away either.

We talked about this for about 15 minutes. She asked me some very intelligent questions such as, "How do they decide who wins the war?" I explained the concept of force and surrender and resources. By her questions and comments I could tell she understood.

I didn't go so far as to say that Lincoln was a tyrant and a dictator; that will come later when she can understand more. I'll let this sink in. Since it's Black History Month I'll let her go to school tomorrow and she'll try to tell the teacher that history is mistaken and Lincoln really wasn't the greatest President. She knows that he didn't want the South to be their own country and that's why there was a war. I hope she shocks her teachers.

As always, I'm proud of my little girl.