Life In Black And White

Sir John A MacDonald

Are you a history buff? Did you enjoy learning about history in school?  Are you fully immersed into  I would say my answer would be no to all of these questions, but I do love history related aspects now.  I love stumbling upon an old picture and  think, “ how lovely was their life in black in white”? 

The more you know about your past, the better prepared you are for the future – Theodore Roosevelt

My family and I travel a lot.  We love to learn about the culture we are visiting or try something new with regards to their heritage.  When we were in Ireland, we soon realized that their culture is their heritage.  They preserve their ancient buildings. They welcome you with stories from the past.  They often end their work day around 4pm and gather with friends and family to share a meal.  We asked for directions once and we were captivated by the 15 minute history explanation of each check point along the way.  We felt like we were a part of their culture.  

In North American, I would say that for the most part – history is dying.  For the past few years, organizations are trying to eliminate history by destroying or removing monuments, plaques, or any representation of a major historical figure. 

For Example:

  • John A MacDonald
  • Samuel De Champlain
  • Egerton Ryerson
  • James McGill
  • Winston Churchill
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Andrew Jackson
  • A Texas Ranger
  • Theodore Roosevelt

Do each of these historical figures have a past? YES

Do each of these historical figures have current day – That is just wrong pasts? YES

Each person on this list (and there are many others that I could have added) have a past.  But!  In their time period.  In their representation of life.  That is how life was.  From a current perspective, it looks terrible – slaves, killing those of black skin, women with no rights, racism, etc .  All aspects that in today’s world, just wouldn’t be tolerated.  Our lives today are inclusive.  We ALL have rights.  We ALL are treated with respect.  We ALL have opportunities.  

Side note:  for some of today’s matters, it comes down to a respect issue. Respect isn’t just freely given.  It must be earned.  If you want to be respected, then give respect.  Be graceful.  Be loving.  You cannot fix a wrong with a wrong. There is an old saying – Two wrongs don’t make a right….  Was it wrong for that police officer to kill George Floyd. YES, but was it wrong for the violent and destructive protests that occurred because of that incident? YES.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.

But for them, in their time – that is all they knew.  Time in that era was exactly what was – there was slavery, woman had little to no rights, and there was racism.  But…through those moments in time, we learned.  We have gained more knowledge and compassion. We learned more about life and health.  We discovered everyone (men, women, whites, blacks, mixed raced, Korean, European, etc) all have gifts, rights, talents, abilities, smarts, ideas, and loving hearts). 

Side Note: The song:  Jesus Loves The Little Children comes to mind. 

This topic ties in with a previous blog (Learning Minutes) where failure should not be thought of as a bad thing.  Failing is actually your first attempt in learning.  I wouldn’t say we failed entirely in the past, but we have learned from it.  We gained knowledge about ourselves, others, worldly issues, health, and finances.  

For you to be sitting here today. – in a warm dwelling, sipping your Keurig coffee, dressed in your name brand clothing is the complete result of your ancestors.  You are here because of your past.  

history, life in black and white, your past

To ignore the past.  To ignore once well-known leaders would be equivalent to ignoring crucial instructions for life and erasing time.  Indigenous Service Minister Marc Miller stated that we need to examine history to educate ourselves and that if we are blind to the past, we are blind to the future.  

Does this way of thinking make me less compassionate for anyone who has suffered in the past?  No, not at all.  I get up each morning and be the BEST person I can be.  I treat everyone with respect, honour and love regardless of their history, race, economic status or gender.  I follow two main principles in my life and I believe if we all did this, we would see less hate in the world:

  1. Love your neighbour as you love yourself – Mark 12:31
  2. She is strong and respected by the people. She looks forward to the future with joy. She speaks wise words adn teaches others to be kind. She watches over her family and never wastes time – Proverbs 25:27

For me, following these 2 principles daily allows me to shine for others. It allows me to pour love into others and it allows me to be kind, give grace and have a heart filled with joy, laughter and love rather than hatred or dismay.  

So as you step outside today, be thankful for your ancestors and your neighbours ancestors.  It is because of them that you are able to be where you are today.  

History is not there for you to like or dislike. It is there for you to learn from it. And if it offends you, even better. Because then you are less likely to repeat it. It’s not yours to erase. It belongs to all of us! – Anonymous

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