My daughter and the Great War


A more personal post for today (linked in some way to this one published one year ago). A part of my summer vacation was dedicated, as usual, to the visit of Great War battlefields. This year, the destination was the Marne (cemeteries of Bligny and Marfaux) and the region of Ypres. My wife shares (well, let’s say she understands) my passion for this conflict and is happy to follow me. But we have an almost 10 year old daughter too…

She usually is absolutely uninterested in history and art history, even if our home is full of books and historical objects. In order to make my trips less boring for her, I try not to stop to each war cemetery I see and reduce the number of museum visits to one a day, explaining in simple words the things we see. But this year, I’ve noticed that she has begun to show some interest in this conflict. For instance she brought me a rusty nail from Zaccarana fort she visited during a summer camp: she was happy to have found an evidence of the war. I’ve even caught her explaining to some friends of her age what a trench was!

Therefore I try to involve her in some way: asking her help when taking photographs, offering her some tiny war items, and so on. And you? What are your tricks with your children?

marfaux-2

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One thought on “My daughter and the Great War

  1. A beautiful photo. At age ten I can remember being introduced to stamp collecting, which though I gave up stamps long ago, it introduced me to history and geography. But also at age ten I was given a good camera and allowed to photograph anything I liked. My father was an amateur photographer with his own dark room which was an advantage. However my son, now 24, never developed this shared interest in history, nor my wife’s interest in nature studies, despite using similar tricks. But he does have his passions too, so perhaps the real goal is to give children a model for lifelong pursuits.

    On a different note, I wish to recommend a book. This new history explains how T. E. Lawrence and a few other men defined the Middle East during WW1, and created the difficult and violent problems we are still trying to resolve in the 21st century. A very well written book with a focus on the less celebrated war with the Ottoman Empire. The title: “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” by Scott Anderson.

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