Friday, January 22, 2016

Since the World's Been Turning

First semester finals are done for DD#2.  She has a day off of school and it is my day off so after puttering in the house a bit, we plan to hit the library and pick up a DVD or two for the week. She wants a jump start on a research project for her honors Language Arts. The theme is Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, and she has to research and do an oral history report on a key event, a famous death, sports, or media or technological advancement from 1950-2000. She bounced around several ideas that follow her interest, lunar landing, Buddy Holly, founding of Apple, but they were encouraged to have both research and interviews with those that remember or experienced the event as part of the report. She ended up choosing the falling of the Berlin wall. 

Our cousin-in-law grew up in Eastern Germany, and was 18 in November, 1989. He and his two children, live a much different life than he did growing up, living in an affluent Minneapolis suburb and spending summers on a Wisconsin Lake. He's a good guy and I'm sure he'll be happy to share his thoughts. Being a teenager at the time should have more resonance with my daughter, and her peers when she delivers the report. I remember that time well.  I was a young mom with an 11 month old baby, watching President Reagan order the Soviet president to "Tear down this wall." I grew up in a time when perhaps the cold war paranoia of the 50's and 60's was done, but the disdain and rivalry between the two countries was fierce. Every Olympics the games were painted as a battle between western freedom and eastern oppression, stereotypes abounding on athletes from eastern block countries. The US boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow, and in return, the Los Angelos games were boycotted by the Soviet Union. Peace, love, and harmony. 

I'm not a helicopter mom, and DD will do her own work, but I will be drawn into her research. I have always been a history buff. This time though, history is part of my time, and I can picture how different things might have been now, with different actions then. Society is global, and we can't pretend what happens  thousands of miles and oceans away has no impact on our lives. My daughter will be participating in an interfaith service project on February 15th. This isn't just a nice idea, but essential life skill building for the teens of today, leaders of the future, in working and problem solving side by side with people who may have fundamentally different religious or political beliefs, but are trying to solve the same social ills. In my daughter's close circle of friends, two friends are children of refugees, both non Christian, non white. The cultural norms they have from their family and homes, are being layered, not assimilated, into their friends norms. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when these reports are shared. 

Here's a quick history lesson, Billy Joel's version. Coincidentally, I was DD'2's age, 9th grade, when this was released.  

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