The Lives of the Greats Remind Us

Why do we tell our kids stories? Why do we tell them about history? Teach them about Martin Luther King, George Washington, Cinncinatus, Florence Nightingale, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius?

Because it matters.

As Longfellow wrote,

Lives of great men all remind us

   We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

   Footprints on the sands of time…

We are trying to teach our kids the most important and pressing lesson of all: That they can make a difference. That they can change the world.

There’s a part of that can feel a bit cheesy, even naive. There’s a part of it that’s even politically incorrect these days. But it matters. Because if they don’t believe it, what hope is there of change? Of progress? (And doesn’t our apathy just cede the field to the bad guys?)

We tell our kids stories to inspire them. That’s what bedtime reading is about—not just tiring them out so they’ll go to sleep. The point of history class isn’t to berate them with the evil deeds of old dead white guys. We want them to know: People can have an impact. People can lead wonderful lives. People can leave their footprints on the sands of time.

Not just people but your kids can do this. And in helping them realize that, you are making your own impact.

P.S. This was originally sent on December 14, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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