jensenlawaz.com 480.632.7373 September 2017
The 10-Year-Old History Buff How I Developed an Early Love for U.S. History
As a little kid growing up in a small town in Wyoming, there wasn’t a whole lot to do. One day, I guess to encourage me to try something new, my parents bought me two books cataloging all the U.S. presidents. They sat on the shelf collecting dust until, bored to death one winter morning, I popped open the first one. I was almost immediately engrossed. The lives of the early presidents and the world they inhabited sparked my imagination like never before. When the spell finally
pushing me to read on my own when I got older. I’d always accompany my mom on her frequent trips to the library, but now, instead of the Dr. Seuss books I’d loved so much, or the books my peers liked, adorned with colorful figures of dragons and dinosaurs, I was checking out stacks of books on the founding fathers or heroes from the Civil War.
As I grew older, my love for history only grew, maturing as I began to understand the complexities of our past. I particularly remember my high school U.S. history teacher, Mr. Patzer, regaling us with stories of his time in the Vietnam War, constantly contextualizing the reading we were doing. He managed to make history real to us, rather than standing there and abstractly lecturing. I remember playing a stock market game about the 1929 crash, using my built-up knowledge of the era to work the system. Honestly, my passion for history should have been my first clue that the medical career I’d planned for myself probably wasn’t my style, but it took several more years for me to fully realize it. I have to admit that these days, I don’t read as much as I should, but on those occasions where I do manage to sit down and pick up a book, it’s always either history or historical fiction. I guess in some ways, I’m still that little kid with his nose in a book too big for him, memorizing the names of the presidents.
I’d always wondered what the world of the past had been like, and these books transported me to that older era of action, heroism, and sacrifice. The battles I read about were staging grounds, where the strong defended their valorous ideals, packed with pithy statements from the great men and women of history. Sure, I loved Star Wars, gobbling up every book in the series as fast as I could get them, but when I considered the exploits of these massive figures, I was engaging with the real world. In those kids’ history books, everything was blanketed with consequence and loaded meaning. They were thrilling to my young mind.
“ ... instead of the Dr. Seuss books I’d loved so much, or the books my peers liked, adorned with colorful figures of dragons and dinosaurs, I was checking out stacks of books on the founding fathers or heroes from the Civil War.”
broke, I looked up at the clock, dazed, to find that hours had passed. By the end of the week, I’d read both of the thick volumes cover to cover. I was hooked. My mom had always encouraged me to read. I was the oldest kid, and my parents were adamant that I start out life on the right foot, reading to me at night when I was really little and constantly
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