Powerful Moments

One of my favorite time periods to teach in Social Studies is the 18th century - Colonial America, Revolutionary War, and the New Nation. I suppose it is because I hold this time period close to my heart. The importance of the events are overwhelming to me. Denying a life that was comfortable to break away from England and form a new country was a pretty daunting task to our founding fathers. I've always been fascinated about the people of this time period - Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Adams, George Washington, and the like. If given the chance to invite a famous person over for dinner, I'd have to say that someone from this era would get the first invitation. However, as much as I knew about the big wigs, I knew very little about the every day person who took up the cause.

Patriot forces leading a bayonet charge

This week, I had the unbelieveable opportunity to join a group of teachers from across the US to immerse ourselves in Colonial America. I traveled to Colonial Williamsburg and became a colonist on the eve of revolution. To say it was amazing is a gross understatement. I don't think I've completely processed all that I saw and what it means. Yes, I went to gather information for my students, but while I was there, something powerful took place within my soul. I finally internalized the importance of the sacrifice the people made. When John Hancock signed his name on the Declaration of Independence, he knew that it meant death if the patriots lost the war. Death not only for him, but for his family.  I began to question whether or not I would have the courage to act in the same manner - to deny the crown, fight for the cause.  I'm a rule follower, I like to do what I'm suppposed to do.  Would I have stood up for my rights or would I have fled the colony back to England? 

Colonial Women gathering for the reading of the Declaration

Until this week I don't think I had ever placed myself in a position to understand the power of the history of my nation.  Not until I sat at Surrender Field in Yorktown.  The one moment this week that resonated in my soul was the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse steps.  I felt transported into time and tears streamd down my cheeks as I heard the words.  Yes, I had read the words, dissected their meaning, but hearing the words spoken aloud with such passion humbled me.  The men who started this movement and penned their name fully understood the consequences, but instead of thinking only of themselves, they thought of me and the future generations that follow. 

Fife and Drum announce the reading of the Declaration of Indpendence

As an American, I've been given a gift.  This week I realized that what I do with this gift carries much weight.  This gift came with a responsibility - a huge one at that - to instill this history not only to the minds of my students, but more importantly, to their hearts.  Otherwise, the sacrifices that were made here in 1776 are all in vain.


Shonda said…
I was just going to ask you how your week went there. Sounds amazing! I wish I could do that!