At the end of the second day of a module designed to teach the kids about The Great War (obviously designed to coincide with Remembrance Day), my son poses to me the following question just before dinner:
“Dad, why did Aboriginals play such a big part in World War 1, and why were they treated so badly afterwards?”
Before he’d even finished the second part of the question, I had clear visions of the form these lessons would have taken, and the depth (or lack thereof) to which some of the more notable events of the conflicts would have been covered (or not). Modern education! Two days into World War 1, and we are already into the discrimination schtick.
Don’t get me wrong, the topic is important and one deserving of attention by those well versed in the history of the times, as a niche topic of interest with significant nuances.
Currently, my son can’t pronounce ‘the Somme’, and when quizzed, guessed that ‘Beersheba’ might be the product of a Trentham micro-brewery. His great-great-grandfather was killed at Passchendaele, and his best guess at what that was, suggested something a girl might do behind the school shelter shed. No, my son isn’t nearly knowledgable enough about The Great War, yet, to justify wandering off the reservation into the realm of leftist talking points and the standard grievance-mongering.
The whole episode is just another example of the lack of the one thing that seems to be so lacking in just about every conversation or news item today…perspective!
Without perspective, much of the information which passes as fact nowadays may as well be a complete fabrication. In covering a war that killed around 40 million people, that his lessons lead him to believe that Australian Aboriginals played a “big part”, is a testament to this. There was nothing ‘unfactual’ about what he was taught, but the lack of perspective lead him to the wrong conclusion. Now, where have I seen this in the brave new world of Covid?
P.S. Whilst I didn’t mention it to him, I wonder what his teacher might say about the fact that my son’s father fought in three different theatres of war, and is no longer allowed to enter a cafe, pub, restaurant, school, stadium…or attend his graduation. I bet there’d be some choice perspective around that!