Last week, an amazing event occurred in Emporia that few people took notice of – the opening of a time capsule, which included several items that were close to 100 years old.
While some of the materials may leave many of us questioning what is chosen for these troves, such as the pamphlets detailing dental hygiene, the true question brought up by this discovery is what will we place in such an item, and if we even should do this.
With the advent of the Internet, our perception of the past has changed and so too did our empathy with the past. When we look at a block of text on Wikipedia, we see no connection to the material that stares back at us. Our understanding of what caused World War I may not have changed, but we no longer feel the pain that may have been experienced by a private writing home to his mother after the events he witnessed on D-Day.
By losing physicality, we lose part of our own history. With no emphatic connection to past, we cease to remember the events emotionally and instead reflect on our past as mere paragraphs and sentences detailing an object to be used as a source in a research paper or to bring up during a cocktail party.
Some of us future teachers need to understand the importance that this brings about. Without a clear grasp on our history, we cannot be expected to pass on our understandings to the youth if we ourselves do not feel something when we encounter an object of the past.
Instead, we will simply spit out jargon that creates no sense of excitement or power with each and every word.
We each have our own time capsules, items so heavy in our hearts that their history explodes from our stories. We need to start reconnecting with the past, not through the Internet, but physical objects. We need to start looking at the trinkets around us, those that exist within our material world and find objects that we can place in a time capsule to help infuse ideas for our future generations.