Although Columbus Day is a national holiday, I find that it is becoming difficult to "navigate" through the media confusion and revisionist text in order to transfer real history to our children.
So called experts question the motives of heroes of old, tell us a new version of every story and leave us wondering if it's even worth looking into.
For those of you ready to toss all of these seemingly "meaningless holidays," let me encourage you that often the real men and the real faith behind these holidays is truly worth exploring.
If you are looking for real history, look to the letters and speeches of those who have gone before us. There, without outside opinion or interpretation we find what they were saying in context and in their own words. Then we can interpret and judge the issues ourselves. A reviewer for The Four Voyages, a book containing Columbus' own log book and correspondence aptly put it like this:
"You can read about the life and times of an historical character by the very best historians for years, but until you read what that character actually wrote about his own experiences, you're groping in the dark. Nothing compares to getting it from the horse's mouth."
I couldn't agree more.
Some helpful spots:
Columbus and His Creator by Paul G. Humber, M.S., ICR website
Columbus' Christian Character and Divine Mission By Stephen McDowell Christian heritage website.
The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives. A book available from Amazon. Another book for my wish list!
WHAT WE DID THIS YEAR
I love to have the girls either color or craft something related to what I am reading aloud. Today, we used free resources from abcteach.com.
As they colored Columbus' ships I read and expounded on Columbus' actual writings. Rather than focus on all the false propaganda, I shared with them where true history is found and read excerpts from Columbus' journal.
We learned that:
1. COLUMBUS' MOTIVATION WAS THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL
In the opening of Columbus' own journal we read:
"In the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ... Your Highness, as Catholic Christians, and princes who love and promote the Christian faith...determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the above-mentioned countries of India, to see the said princes, people and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith..."
2. COLUMBUS LOVED THE NATIVES
After Columbus' landing he continues to document his relationship with the natives, always with a mention of his interest in converting them to Christ by means of peace and kindness.
He writes: "There is not upon earth a better or gentler people... a finer country or people cannot exist."
In fact, on Tuesday, November 27th he requests the King and Queen to prevent anyone wishing to come to the new world for the purpose of worldly gain, but only those grounded in the faith "as the object and sum of the present undertaking has been the increase and glory of the Christian religion."
He further gave orders that his men not take advantage of the natives by trading worthless articles to the Indians for things of value.
3. COLUMBUS WAS THANKFUL TO CHRIST FOR THEIR SUCCESS
Columbus asked the King, Queen, Princes and all Christians to:
"give thanks to our Saviour Jesus Christ who has granted us such a victory and great success. Let processions be ordered, let solemn festivals be celebrated, let the temples be filled with boughs and flowers. Let Christ rejoice upon earth as he does in heaven, to witness the coming salvation of so many people, heretofore given over to perdition..."
Following this time, I simply gave our oldest daughter a short article written on dead reckoning, the method of navigation that Columbus would have used, had her exercise her newly acquired key outline skills and report back to me. We discussed this navigational technique and how it was used.
It really was history worth remembering.
Blessings to you!
Intro. picture: Free coloring page from abcteach.