Posted by: Jim E | March 7, 2011

Ulysses S. Grant…Schools…Parenting…The Civil War…

This year is the 150 anniversary of the starting of the Civil War…and because it is the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War…it will be celebrated throughout 2011-2015, since the war lasted that long, from 1861-1865…because of all that, I decided to begin to read some books about the war…I have had the “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” for some time, so I decided to read that…it was written by U.S. Grant at the end of his life and published in two volumes in 1885…(this is after serving as United States President for two terms)…he was very ill while writing it, suffering from throat cancer…and he died just after he finished his memoirs…the memoirs are considered one of the first and one of the best ever written…I am enjoying it…

It has been so interesting to read about his upbringing…where he lived and how he lived…his family and what they did for a living…how he viewed school and work…it gives some view of why America grew so quickly…what was ingrained in the fabric of American life and then into the lives of those that lived at that time…it is fascinating…but also points out what is missing in many today…he mentioned something many of us understand…his father was not afforded the facilities for acquiring an education and his greatest desire was for the education of his children…he said, “Consequently, as stated before, I never missed a quarter from school from the time I was old enough to attend till the time of leaving home. This did not exempt me from labor. In my early days, every one labored more or less”…

That is what was taught to me in school when I was young…and at home as well…and I think it is being taught today in lots of homes…but for sure, not everywhere…we see over and over where school/learning is not important and children doing work is, if not missing, surely is not like what it could be…and there seems to be more and more homes that do not teach the importance of learning and work…

A number of years ago I read a billboard where a grandmother is speaking…the quote said, “Parents should raise their children so other people will love them.”…I thought that was profound…here in Little Rock, and it is happening all over the country, where parents are home schooling or sending their kids to private schools where they have more say in what they are being taught and how it is being taught…so much of what teachers, in public schools, are being told to teach and do with kids, has little to do with learning…it is more political than anything else…so many parents opt for controlling what their kids are being taught…and when all around us the “culture” is telling us and our children just the opposite of how we would like them to live…

“Parents should raise their children so other people will love them.”…well, how about these things: Learning to tell the truth…integrity…reliability…steadiness…thoroughness…respect for elders…respect for private property…obedience…learning to sit still…work hard, because everything worthwhile in life is hard work…I really think if these things and many others were emphasized, taught and modeled, many of the problems of our time would be lessened…

Every generation thinks they know best…and I know I am not exempt from that indictment…but there are some basic things that make up a society…I read this somewhere recently and maybe it should be on the walls of our homes and schools: Welcome to our home/school/country/culture, “Where some things never change, because some things never should.”…



  1. Just thought of another book for you to read on the Civil War…For Cause and Comrades by James McPherson. Actually anything by McPherson is good. Also, for MN history in the Civil War you must read Richard Moe’s The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota…great book…I read it about once a year. If you can’t find a copy of Moe, let me know and I send you mine…on loan of course.

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