Dear Jack: My Potentially Controversial Help on Your Columbus Day Homework

5 years, 11 months.Dear Jack: My Potentially Controversial Help on Your Columbus Day Homework

Dear Jack,

You had some weekend homework to do. So after I finished cleaning the bathrooms, hosing out your sandbox and putting it away in the garage, then sweeping out the dead spiders and dust from the garage, I sat down with you at the kitchen table to help you with your assignment on Christopher Columbus.

The instructions were to have a parent help you research the origin and history of Columbus Day, then determine for yourself in your own opinion, as a Kindergartner, whether you believe we should or should not celebrate Columbus Day.

With Mommy knowing I am a closet conspiracy theorist, she suggested I should be the parent to help you with your homework assignment. So you and I got to work, to verify what I already knew about Columbus Day.

After simply Googling “Columbus Day” on my own, only clicking on sites that ended in org., I read to you how Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean Islands, not the United States, while attempting to find a better route to Asia. I read to you how he and his men took back some of the native people and made them work for them, to understate it; and that Columbus’s men also took back some of the native’s riches to Europe, as well.

As I read this to you, I made a point not to add to the text, so that you could truly develop your own opinion.

I went on to read that Christopher Columbus supervised his men threatening the people of the “new land” with violence if they did not convert to Christianity.

Dear Jack: My Potentially Controversial Help on Your Columbus Day Homework

After reading those few excerpts from a few official resources online (all ending in .org), you quickly marked “should not” on your homework assignment.

Even if no one can know for certain the details, it seems that you perceive Christopher Columbus like a Marvel villain, not a superhero.

I then helped you spell the rest of the answers, which explained to your teacher and your classmates why you believe we should not celebrate Columbus Day.

Then, in your wisdom, you said to me (and Mommy, who was on the other side of the kitchen counter, finishing dinner), “Daddy, I think I’m going to be the only one in my class who says we shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day.”

However, you said this in a tone that indicated confidence and determination, not fear or anxiety.

I responded, “You’re right. There’s a good chance of that. But I like your answer. You make a good point. Why should we celebrate a man who took other people away from their families and would possibly kill them if they didn’t start believing in God? And did he really discover new land if there were already people living there in the first place?”

As your answer explained, if you were Christopher Columbus, you wouldn’t have taken the people or their belongings back to Europe.

While I may not be the most popular parent, and while I may not be helping you to have the easy answer for your homework assignment, I believe what I am doing is helping you to truly think for yourself.

You will stand alone sometimes in your beliefs, throughout your entire life. But if your stance celebrates and honors what is morally right, even if it goes against mainstream tradition, you can stand up proud in your solitude.

Still though, you can know that I am standing up with you, even if I’m not physically there with you. Because I support my son who stands up for what is right, especially when it’s the unpopular thing to do.



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