History through the Eyes of Faith: This week’s Montessori Moment

By LinMarie Cameron, Upper Elementary History Teacher

There’s Montessori, and then there’s Catholic Montessori.  At the end of our unit on Ancient Greece, we were going back through lesson topics to review and make connections.  The students had read and written about many of the Greek myths in which the gods double-cross each other, take petty revenge, and generally act like spoiled children.

I was reminded of the comparison Chesterton makes between Greek mythology and philosophy, and mentioned it to the class.  The Greeks created their gods to explain natural events, but created them in their own image with the same weaknesses and failings as human beings.  In philosophy, on the other hand, the Greeks searched for truth–the truth of human nature, how one should live, and the purpose of life.

Our discussion developed into a comparison between the Greek gods and the true God, and the students’ answers peppered the air.  They can see the truth so clearly they hardly had to think about it:  the gods were divided into many, and had to share powers, but God is all-powerful.  The gods were hypocrites, punishing people severely for the same things they did, but God is merciful and just.  The gods cheated, lied, and stole, but God is all good.

One student brought up the idea of sacrifice, and was partway through his comparison that the gods demanded sacrifice when he realized that God also requires sacrifice.  The class chimed in–God asks us to sacrifice our time…but then, time is a gift from Him, so it’s not really ours, but it’s still a sacrifice….There was so much happening at once that I wish I had recorded it.

In any setting, exploring history with children can be a lot of fun. Seeing history through the eyes of faith can bring wisdom. Watching these come together as a child with faith views history–that is pure joy.