I have always loved the Billy Joel song, We Didn’t Start the Fire. My 11 year old son loves it as well. I found a wonderful history book about the ’80’s at a thrift store. My son loves all things 1980’s. The music, the clothes and the history. As we looked at each page of the book, every time a disturbing picture would pop up, he and I would sing the chorus, “… we didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the worlds been turning.”
I wondered how much of the song my son was actually comprehending. I remember when I was in high school, that song prompted me to seek out the stories behind the names that Billy Joel made me think about, as historical images flashed before my eyes on MTV. ( I also enjoy the story line of the video. A Valium induced mother and housewife trying her best to not be traumatized by the changing world around her.)
Two days ago I posted the lyrics to we didn’t start the fire on my Main Street Antiques in Holly, MI Facebook page, and considered composing my own social studies course based entirely on that song. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to hear on the news that the song was #1 on this day, December 9, 1989. The year I graduated high school. I took it as a sign to move forward with my homeschool social studies class. We Didn’t Start the Fire 101.
All the unrest in the world these days is heart wrenching, panic provoking and downright sickening to behold. The protests and rioting in the streets of America makes us wonder if we are headed for another Civil War. As we fight with each other, the beheadings of Christians and suicide bombers seem to be commonplace throughout the world. How can we as nation fight against our foreign enemies if we cannot stop fighting among ourselves?
The condition and political state my generation is leaving this world in for my son, my grand kids, and all posterity is disgraceful. The guilt I feel for the way we have left the world in turmoil and debt to future generations will most likely never go away.
That song rings through my head almost every morning as I watch the news. Has the world gotten worse? Or are we just made more aware by social media and propaganda? I am anxious to begin this course. As we go through Billy Joel’s historical timeline and learn about each historical event mentioned, maybe some answers or possibly some comfort can be found in studying the past. Learning that war, persecution and social injustice has always been and always will be might help us accept what the future holds. As Billy says, “…when we are gone, it will still burn on and on.”