It is easy to romanticize the past, both that past we knew and that we have only dreamt about.
I’m reminded of Edward Arlington Robinson’s poem; Minever Cheevy"
“...Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant...”
Not only do we romanticize the distant past, we misremember our own.
Thinking about public school and school shootings, I remember my youth as idyllic, but was it really?
We all lived in the ‘50s with the threat of nuclear annihilation. Today’s school children live under the threat of personal annihilation. I don’t think the two are comparable.
We could just crawl under our desk and be all right. It was a pure fantasy, but we didn’t know that as school children. We worried about clothing fads and our bully and why we didn’t get invited to Johnny’s birthday party.
Living under the threat of the door flying open and some misguided person ending your life on the spot is completely different. There is not the threat of mutually assured destruction that kept leaders of nations from firing missiles that would end the world. There was no illusion of being a winner or a hero, however misguided. There would just be radioactive slag.
Somehow that threat was better than the one school kids live under now.
This morning, I thought of my daughter who sometimes trades her beautician services for goods – barters – and wondered who invented money. (Stick with me this ends up relating to school.) At times she has had phone calls and told the person on the other end that she is cash poor and can’t afford anymore trades.
I didn’t teach her bartering; pathologists don’t have many skills that anyone would willingly want in exchange. She learned bartering on the street. “I’ll trade you two falafels for a tie dye.” And, she has her Grandpa Charlie’s genes. Charlie sold and traded and everyone left smiling. It was a wonder to watch.
However, there is the problem of being cash poor. Despite the assertions of Sue Lowden, the 2010 candidate for the Senate from Nevada, chickens don’t make good health insurance. Ms. Lowden’s assertion was that the healthcare crisis could be solved by paying doctors with chickens.
You might not have enough chickens, and a doctor can only eat so many chickens. Too, the chief financial officer at the hospital might take a dim view of Ms. Lowden leaving chickens in his office in payment for her gallbladder surgery.
So, who invented currency?
I asked Mr. Google this question and was referred to a website; “Wonderopolis”. There I found an answer. I found that illustrious donors like Toyota and the Kellogg Foundation support its parent - Familieslearning.org, - but had a hard time finding who does their research or exactly who Families Learning is.
The answer at Wonderopolis was:
“No one knows for sure who first invented such money, but historians believe metal objects were first used as money as early as 5,000 B.C. Around 700 B.C., the Lydians became the first Western culture to make coins. Other countries and civilizations soon began to mint their own coins with specific values.”
Knowing too much my mind raced off to Lydia, the iron age kingdom located in what is now Western Turkey, Lydia the biblical “seller of purple” who was from Thyateira, south of modern day Istanbul and due west of Athens, Greece, and Lydian mode, which uses the fourth note of a major scale as the root tone. (You will need to talk to a real musician for more information.)
Examples of Lydian mode:
There were no references at Wonderopolis. Admittedly this site is for “K-12 and learners of all ages”, but it still seems that there should be some explanation. Am I being unreasonable in asking for footnotes or at least a bibliography at the end? There were embedded links, but they mostly went to where to leave your tip money.
This site seemed intended for home schoolers, and I’m a little leery of home schoolers. It’s not that I don’t think a child can get a good academic education that way, but it all depends on their parents’ intent, know-how and dedication, and it does nothing for socialization. I know a man whose daughter was home schooled and it was extremely successful in getting her into college and later a good career, but I also know a woman – the daughter of a now deceased friend - who smokes dope, drinks someone else’s wine every night, and, because she couldn’t be bothered to get her kids dressed for school in the morning took them out to be “home schooled”.
She now has a bright teenage daughter with a fifth grade education (who has gotten a GED) bussing tables and a son with a second grade education who will wind up in prison or dead.
One of our mutual friends called Family Services about the situation years ago, and was told that DFAC didn’t have the resources to follow up on that; they were busy protecting children who were being physically abused. I’m sure that they would deny being that honest.
My worry is that children who are being taught in school are not encouraged to think or ask where the information they are being given came from.
The kids’ worry is that the doors will fly open and some miscreant will open fire and kill them all.