I’m delighted to host author Trisha Hughes on her blog tour for Virgin To Victoria, book two in her V2V trilogy – now available on Amazon. Trisha also gives us food for thought with her article, “The Importance of History.”
VIRGIN TO VICTORIA is a powerful retelling of the history of the British monarchy, beginning with Henry VIII’s daughter, Elizabeth I, as she comes to the throne. Charting Elizabeth’s incredible journey, VIRGIN TO VICTORIA travels in time through the confusion of the Stuart dynasty, the devastation of a Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell, horrific battles for the throne and the turbulent Hanover dynasty with its intricate family squabbles.
Despite her amazing legacy, Elizabeth failed England in one vital area. She never married, nor did she leave an heir to the Tudor dynasty. In making this one fateful decision, the Virgin Queen left the path open for a take-over and life would never be the same….
Victoria did not ask to be Queen. It was thrust upon her by a series of events that removed all others who stood in line for the throne. She assumed it reluctantly and, at first, incompetently. Parliament was sure that the 18-year-old could be relied upon to leave the job of running the country to the professionals. Couldn’t she?
About the Author: Australian born Trisha Hughes began writing 18 years ago with her best-selling memoir ‘Daughters of Nazareth’. Trisha’s passion is history and she loves bringing it alive in a way that is easy to read and enjoy. Her hope is to inspire young readers and the young at heart to understand and enjoy stories and legends from the past. While living in Hong Kong, she writes for a local magazine and is involved with young writers.
Find out more at Trisha’s website: www.trishahughesauthor.com and www.vikingstovirgin.com
You can contact Trisha on her Facebook page, Trisha Hughes Author and on Twitter @TrishaHughes_
The Importance of History
by Trisha Hughes
Have you ever wondered why it is that when we hear an almost forgotten song, we can remember every single word? Thirty plus years later, the song is as fresh in our minds as when we first heard it and whether we can hold a tune or not, we sing happily along with it and we remember the words exactly. So the six million dollar question is, if we can remember songs so well, why don’t we do the same with history?
When I was at school, learning about the Magna Carta, the Battle of Hastings, Agincourt, Bosworth, Bannockburn along with the names of unknown Kings fighting unknown battles in unknown places were the most boring lessons I could imagine. They were just names and dates but I had to remember them because I knew that in a very short time, there would be a test. In the back of my mind was the question, ‘But why do I have to learn about this when I’ll never use it again when I grow up?’ And you can be sure our children’s minds work the same way as ours did.
Being considerate of the teaching practices, history truly was boring because no one thought to make it interesting. Teachers were given a task and a curriculum and they were expected to adhere to the facts without veering away from the textbooks. They had guidelines. But as we get older, our perception changes and all of a sudden, these characters are not eccentric anymore. They fought real battles, they won the love of their women, they made mistakes and they were vulnerable to diseases. Just like us.
Almost like a revelation, we realize that learning history has many important benefits. The way things are now is a consequence of the things that happened in the past. The way things will be tomorrow will be a consequence of the way things are now.
History is quite amazing actually. It can be the richest of all stories, the saddest of stories and the most shocking of stories. It’s a story of all people, in all places, at all times and because we know of that history, we can decide what may happen in the future. It shows us models of good and responsible behavior as well as teaching us how to learn from the mistakes of others. The more you know about the past the better prepared you are for the future because by remembering the past, we realize that we are responsible for building a legacy for the generations that follows us.
Considering the greed that caused The War of the Roses, the family misunderstandings that caused the First World War and the need for power that caused the Second World War, who would want to repeat them? As the famous Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
So how should we encourage our children to study history? Well, the answer is to
simply make it fun. With our children’s vision blinkered to everything around them except the little glowing screen in their hands, eccentric characters from dusty old textbooks is the last thing on their minds. But the way our children absorb information is undergoing a rapid transformation. Images, video, sound bites, tweets and interactive apps are just some of the ways through which our children learn nowadays. So keeping that in mind, what if the information is delivered in a different manner? We all learn things in different ways and the best way is to engage their minds and imaginations.
So what about storytelling? Storytelling has endured throughout the ages. It has existed ever since humans were first able to clutch a stick in their hand and scratch pictures on the walls of caves. Our ancestors have scratched stories for us on Egyptian tombs, ancient papyrus, delicate scrolls and even on stone. We’ve been telling stories before the golden-haired, blue-eyed Vikings sailed dragon-prowed boats up a river in Northumbria one cold miserable January morning in 793AD and we were still listening to these stories told by old men around a fire on cold wintry nights with a tankard of ale in their hands. Hence the word ‘His story’.
History itself is comprised of stories of human existence. From a very young age, children are taught to recognise and appreciate stories, especially at bedtime. A wave of hushed concentration envelops the child as they hear the words ‘once upon a time’, and there are hundreds of titles to choose from. For example, there is King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Although fictitious, this story is full of intrigue, bravery, dashing knights on white horses waving swords and swooning damsels in distress. Then we have Robin Hood with his band of merry men robbing from the rich and giving to the poor while romping though Sherwood Forest in his Lincoln-green long johns. And let’s not forget the incredibly romantic story of Ivanhoe dating back to Richard the Lionheart days. The list is endless and in every one, there is a story to grab our children’s imagination. Who knows, soon your children may start reaching for the historical fiction shelf on their own. Never underestimate the power of your child’s imagination.
Growing up in today’s world, our children have already been exposed to different cultures and values and this puts them all on the same platform. It helps to open their minds, explore ancient civilizations and helps them learn the importance of world cultures. It helps them to explore the different stages of history and understand the importance of major events and the mistakes that were made. Mistakes that we hope will never be repeated. And isn’t that what we really want? To make our children’s future better than the past?
In the immortal words of the Rudyard Kipling, ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.’