History is one of life’s better instructors

By Andrew Pankratz / Times-News correspondent

As you prepare for school, you will look forward to (or dread) going back to history class. Depending on your teacher, this class may be interesting or … otherwise. Even so, why must we be put to effort of studying events many years and miles away from us?

One very important reason is that history repeats itself. What happened in the past, whether recent or long ago, will happen again. If you know some basic history, you will be able to recognize trends that have usually (99.9 percent of the time) led to a certain outcome. This enables us to understand our times and what may be pending in the future.

Here’s an example. In ancient Rome, the government was ruined by overspending. Our government is notorious for its overspending. Since we know history repeats itself, that is likely a factor in our decline.

A second reason is related to the first. This reason is since history repeats itself, we are enabled to look before we leap. Nothing you want to do lacks a precedent, for, as Solomon says, “…there is no new thing under the sun.” This is a valuable help to us, as it can and will warn us (if we let it) when we start down a bad path. This applies to all areas of life, enabling us to look before we leap, as the old saying goes.

If we want to know how a government policy will work, let’s check and see what history has to say. It is stupid to do something that will result in disaster; therefore, we ought to research the topic as to avoid catastrophic results.

The best way to study history is to read real books. Yes, it is work to study history, but it is well worth the effort. Textbooks are often dry, and they only give a glimpse at history. This is why you should go to the library and find some books on history and read them.

Just reading books for the fun of it, rather than for some class, is actually quite fun, and to top it all off, there is no test, making this “work” not stressful. Some books that give a good look at ancient history and cultures are the works of G.A. Henty and R.M. Ballantyne. Both wrote dozens of books, some of which may be available at your local library.

I would also recommend finding books on great Americans of the past, people like George Washington, Davy Crockett, Theodore Roosevelt, Sergeant York, Clara Barton and George Washington Carver.

To sum this all up, the study of history is necessary so that we can avoid the mistakes of our forefathers and walk in good and proven paths … and go to the library.

Andrew Pankratz is a homeschooled rising sophomore and a Teens & 20s writer.

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