Did you know that some religions believe in a cyclical model of time? Hindus and Buddhists, for example, generally think that time has no beginning and no end, but just moves in huge repeating cycles.
But Westerners tend to see history as linear. Christians certainly believe that we live in the midst of a story moving forward. We believe history had a beginning, moves through time, and will have an end point. And not just that. As Christians, we believe we are moving through time with a purpose. God is working out a grand plan of redemption.
Why does it matter?
I believe children need to know where we are in the story in order to make sense of life. I want our children to know that we are in the period of time between Christ's first coming and His return. The incarnate Christ returned to heaven, and we are His representatives on earth now. He has given us the Holy Spirit to work through us and guide us as we labor to bring God's Kingdom to earth. We are part of God's big plan; we have a role to play, a purpose for living, and a call to serve. We can partner with God, or not. He will work His plan out with or without us. May we and our children be people who help God's kingdom advance.
And the story is moving forward! Though we don't know the exact timeline, we do know we are moving to an end point where Christ returns and ultimately redeems His people. He will establish His kingdom in full and we will live forever in perfect communion with Him in the new heaven and new earth. How can this not affect how we live today?
This concept of being in a story leads Sonlight to emphasize the study of history. Because we believe we live in the midst of a story, Sonlight creates programs that help children know where they fit in with the big picture of civilizations and God's work in this specific world. For example, children need to know that life has not always been as it is now. Their nation has not existed forever. Civilizations have risen and fallen over time, gradually forming the world as we know it now.
Sonlight student David W of China poses as an ancient Chinese prince on a family field trip
Nearly every Sonlight Core centers on a history theme. With the Sonlight scope and sequence of world history, American history and church history, your children will get the big-picture, chronological view of how we got where we are today. I think this way of learning really helps kids make sense of the world around them. I also think it helps children develop critical thinking, understand other cultures and be inspired to live meaningful lives. (Curious? Read about these and three more reasons to study history instead of social studies.)
I can get pretty excited about history. If we are part of a story, we must have a part to play! May we inspire our children to find their role in God's kingdom and live out the story to which He has called them.
Blessings to you and yours,