One of the joys of homeschooling is that you can take rabbit trails in your studies. We've stopped moving ahead in our time frame for history and hung out with the leaders of the Revolutionary was. Most recently, we've read of Nathan Hale, Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, and Thomas Paine. These men all had an impact on our nations, but it was amazing the choices they made and the effect that had on their future.
Nathan Hale, born in Connecticut, was faithful to his commitments, even when it went against his personal desires. He was committed to his cause and was willing to face death to help at a critical moment. When the British caught him during his time spying, he told the truth. He died honorably at age 21- even his enemies thought well of him. Think of all the places that are named after him.
Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut, as well. He had a need to prove his bravery, to be noticed, to be the best. Appearances were important and debt was always an issue for him. When he didn't get his way or wasn't recognized as he thought he should be, he was ready to quit or leave. In the end, he was willing to give up a Fort to the British for money. It was all about who would give him the most money. He died a sad man at 60, bitter and lonely.
Ethan Allen was also born in Conn. He was all about freedom and defying anyone who seemed to be taking away or opposing his freedom. He was not interested in following orders if he had a better idea. This caused him to make a major blunder, lose his chance to be a hero and leader in the war, and spend almost 3 years as a prisoner. He was a great writer and very inspiring. Because of him, Vermont became a state. He was a hero and larger than life legend who died at 51 years.
Thomas Paine was born in England, didn't like to study or to do the work in his father's shop, dreamed of being a sailor, and ran away twice. Went to America and wrote Common Sense which inspired people to ralley to make this an independent nation. He also wrote another article about the soldiers who were without supplies which raised awareness and support. He even gave up his own money to help support the troops. Sadly, he didn't get paid for his efforts. He made several trips back and forth to France and America. He was imprisoned in France because, after hesitating to get involved, he supported the French Revolution, but said the King should live, not die. He stayed there for quite a while until he was finally rescued. Thomas Jefferson sent a ship for him and brought him back to the States, but unfortunately, people had forgotten what he'd done and most of his friends were dead. He ended his days alone.
Didn't the foundinf fathers pledge in those days their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor? Look how far we've come from that. Look also at the choices these men made that are examples for us to follow and avoid. Look how important it is to know our history and to recognize those who deserve respect and honor for their sacrifice.
Long ramble, but I'm thankful for these lessons to share with my children.