Star Wars versus the Revolutionary War-Engaging the Next Generation

Throughout the month of May people are posting Blogs entitled “Military Memories” to honor their Ancestors who fought in the various Wars. I have been so moved by all the accounts of bravery, courage and sacrifice of so many of them. I have always loved History so reading these is enjoyable for me. I guess you could say that I have a hard time believing that some people just do not find History to be interesting or exciting.

Last week my youngest Grandson Banon, who is 7 years old and in the first grade, asked me why I was crying while looking at my computer. I told him I was reading a Blog about a young man who was killed in a War and that it was sad.  He responded “Grandma, I don’t like History, it’s so boring!” I was mortified! How could a Grandson of mine feel this way? I asked him why he thought it was boring and he said “Because all those people are dead!” Oh my…where did I go wrong?

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As the day wore on I started thinking about what he had said about History being boring.  Then it hit me. I need to make it personal for him! So I pulled out the binders I had made for my older Grandkids a few years ago and called him over to me. Now he is a diehard Star Wars fan. He knows every character, every weapon, and every mode of transportation by name. This gave me the idea to make a correlation between Star Wars and the Revolutionary War. Before you think that I have totally lost it, please hear me out. I asked him what it was about the fighting in Star Wars that he liked. He then rattled off his reasons. I then asked him if he would like to hear about a real war where, just like Anakin, people fought to make their families free from a Ruler. He took the bait.

After explaining “briefly” about why America went to war with Britain, I started telling him about the different weapons that were used and how they had used horses and wagons for transportation. I then told him about the way they dressed.…the Red Coats vs. the Blue Coats. Then I finally took one of the binders and showed it to him. I saw a spark appear in his eyes! You see, 5 years ago when my oldest Grand Daughter started High School she told me that EBAY and Binders 001they were going to learn about the Revolutionary War in History Class. I told her we had Ancestors who fought in the War and she got excited. So I put together 3 binders with all the information I could find about the Soldiers, the company they fought with, who they fought under and named the Battles they participated in. I used maps and pictures of the Historic places. I also included a linage from that Ancestor to me. She loved them and took them to school. She got an A+ when she did her presentation on the War. I had made it personal to her and she was inspired to do her own research. Over the last few years 2 more Grandchildren have used the binders and since then I have made several more. So I made it personal for Banon and he was enthralled. He asked so many questions he actually wore me out. His teacher even told my daughter that all he talked about since then was those binders and we had to take them to school for the teacher and his class to see.

EBAY and Binders 030I have also put together binders for Ancestors who fought in the Civil War, the War of 1812, WWI and WWII. I even have a few binders about our First Ancestors that came to America. I intend to show these to Banon and his brother over the summer.

Sometimes we have to just go that extra mile to engage the younger generation in learning about History and their Genealogy. If we can start them young then they will hopefully develop an interest and excitement in finding their Ancestors and where they came from. Hopefully igniting that spark of curiosity in him will eventually burn with the same kind of passion for Genealogy and History that I have. After all, isn’t one of our goals as a Family Historian to be able to pass on what we have discovered to the generations that come after us?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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10 Comments

May 18, 2014 · 2:57 pm

10 responses to “Star Wars versus the Revolutionary War-Engaging the Next Generation

  1. Valerie, first, welcome to Geneabloggers! Love the post about connecting your grandson with his ancestors. Love the idea of the binders. I remember that my brothers were not very interested in history but our parents took us to Gettysburg & southern plantations & museums and history became more than dates to memorize. We all love history now and they love hearing about my genealogy research results.

    • Thank you Colleen, I always took my kids to museums and historical places when they were growing up but none of them ever caught the “history bug”. I am hoping that my grandkids catch it though!

      Valerie

  2. What a great idea, having binders for the wars. I had never thought of that, have been working on binders for each ancestral family. But to have all the information in one place would make it so much easier when that grandchild comes asking “did we have anyone who fought in the Civil War,<" etc.

  3. Valerie,
    Great blog post with some very good tips! I do have binders for three Civil War ancestors but should do it for for the Rev. War and so on. Also I loved your GeneaBloggers interview. So nice to learn a little more about you! 🙂

  4. Valerie,

    This is such a great post! I love how you were able to captivate your grandchildren’s attention with these binders. And in the process, creating an interest in their own family history. Bravo! Well done!

  5. Valerie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/05/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-may-23-2014.html

    Have a great weekend!

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