Perspective 101

One of the trade-offs made in order to emphasize science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in schools has been teaching less history and good literature. To get more of one thing in a crowded curriculum, students will learn less of another. STEM-related subjects help young people get good jobs in their world. History and literature help them keep perspective on it.

History is the play-by-play on human events, and literature is the color commentary. One reason for hysterical reactions to traumatic events is that citizens have lost perspective. Tragedies invite a Twitter storm from commentators who blurt out the worst case in 140 characters but don’t offer perspective. They fuel paranoia because people can’t remember that we have been through worse before and survived.

People unite when they see themselves as part of the same running narrative. That is why the imperative to remember occurs so frequently in the Bible: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 8:2). God’s people held it together when they remembered their own history and got into all sorts of trouble when they forgot it and failed to teach it to the next generation.

So “remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced” (Psalm 105:5). Then we can keep everything in perspective.

Jason had a career as a teacher, counselor, and leader. He has written and spoken extensively on a variety of topics related to the Christian life. He has been a contributing writer for Time of Grace since 2010. He has authored Grace Moments devotions and Straight Talk Books including, Help Me, Jesus; One Day Full of Grace; and When in Doubt. Jason lives with his wife, Nancy, in Wisconsin.


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