This week at Choice was especially meaningful because I was in charge of putting together the educational material we were to work on for the evening. As fate would have it our area of study for this week was History, a subject I have dreaded since the third grade. Personally, I have never truly understood the importance of History. This mentality is aptly reflected by the fact that I, a soon to be second semester sophomore, have yet to take my Introduction to History course, (a class commonly taken first semester freshman year).
As I looked at the face of my youth who struggled to piece together the parts of a historical illustration I found on the internet I could tell she was less than amused with the assignment. I encouraged her to verbally identify all that she saw in the picture and then interpret what she thought each part meant in the context of the historical time period. My suggestion was greeted by a blank stare.
“Why do I have to learn this” she asked. I was dumbfounded. “I will never use any of this in the real world.” She was right. I was looking into a mirror. How could I tell her that I whole heartedly agreed with her when I had created the assignment myself? I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts. What could I say?
“Why do you think you need to learn this?” She frowned from across the table and folded her arms. This girl wanted answers. The situation reminded me of the two poems we read for class “The Path to the Milky Way Leads through Los Angeles” and “A Bedtime Story.”
In “The Path to the Milky Way Leads through Los Angeles” the speaker realizes that her path in life is wherever she is at the present moment. Although there is so much in Los Angeles that she hates, she must find the beauty that exists and grow stronger from her experience. At my youth’s present moment she needs to graduate high school and her less than satisfactory History grade will prevent her from doing so. Just like the speaker, my youth must experience her present moment to its fullest. She must take all of the good with all of the bad and all of the easy with all of the difficult. This is what makes you who you are. And, this sometimes means working extra hard on a subject that troubles you. In the end you might find that not only do you succeed with the class but that you are more confident in your abilities as a student.
In “A Bedtime Story” the young girl must figure the answer out for herself. Just as it was not easy for the old woman to realize that her misfortune was a blessing in disguise, the young girl must open herself up and be willing to find the answers. The things that give us the most fulfillment in life are usually the things that are not easy. If you truly work hard and allow yourself to be open to all of the possibilities life holds in store, then you will find real happiness and fulfillment. If the old women hadn’t faced neglect and rejection she would have never experienced the beauty of the night so fully. If my youth does not go through the struggles of a difficult History class she may never feel the joy of accomplishing something that you never imagined you could. Happiness comes only to those who search for it.
“Learning a subject that is challenging for you teaches you to think. You may not apply what you learn in History to your everyday life but you will certainly apply what you have learned from learning History in every endeavor. You will not only be a stronger person for persevering you will be a wiser person for finding the answers yourself.” And with that response she picked up her pen and continued her work.