For many of us, history ends when we leave the classroom. Unless you enter a field which deals in the past, the chances are that you don’t think about what’s been and gone. You might watch a WW2 film on occasion, but that’s about it.
You wouldn’t be alone. We have a remarkable ability to switch off to the past. Some of us find history boring while others prefer not to think of it at all. But, we’re here to tell you, categorically, that making more time for history could make you a better person.
We aren’t saying that you have to sign up for history courses. We’re merely suggesting that you might want to reach for books from authors like Hilary Mantel and Mary Beard. You might even want to visit museums or attend events with individuals of historical interest. As well as providing an interesting and expansive view, efforts like these can lead you to the following benefits.
Empathy matters. It ensures we go above and beyond for others, and improves our understanding. And, taking an interest in history can see you gaining it by the bucketload. Admittedly, this isn’t a benefit many of us enjoy when we’re half listening in history lessons. But, that can change when you go out of your way to listen to someone speak about their experiences. Even if you’ve never felt overly empathetic to world war survivors, for instance, listening to one speak up close could hit you in a new way. And, this is an experience you should grasp fast. You only need to ask yourself ‘How many WW2 veterans are still alive?’ to realize that this opportunity will soon slip away. Even just visiting a museum of artifacts could be enough to see you feeling new empathy for past and future generations.
More knowledge of where you come from
Looking into your family history could also help you understand where you come from. Once you reach those roots, you may find that you feel more grounded on the whole. As soon as you show an interest, you could come to understand aspects of your personality which never made much sense. That, in turn, can help you to accept yourself and the historical influences which have shaped who you are.
An understanding of past mistakes
Sometimes, it’s only by looking back that we can see mistakes we must avoid when moving forward. This applies in both the personal and political moves that we make. Looking at what politics have done wrong in the past, for instance, could lead you to run for your local council and leave your mark on the world. Or, you may learn how not to act on a personal level from the mistakes of people who have gone before.
We aren’t saying that history is going to solve every problem. But, you could certainly argue that the world would be a better place if we were more willing to learn from the lessons history holds.