As a high school social studies teacher, I enjoyed teaching world history the most.
In particular, I was extremely interested in the influence that different civilizations had on the history of the world.
It consistently amazed me that a small group of people could come together and create the most powerful governing structures in the entire world. In the ancient world, there were eight recognized civilizations.
These civilizations included Mesopotamia, Egypt, Maya, India, China, Rome, Greece, and Persia. Without question, there were hundreds of other civilizations and empires, but these eight were the most significant.
Most individuals are familiar with the Roman Empire because of the enormity of the movies, books, and articles which were created about them.
The Romans created impressive structures, improved engineering concepts, created a language which serves as a basis for modern languages, created governmental structures which have been modeled by other nations, and developed a judicial system which has been duplicated.
However, the other ancient civilizations were equally powerful and influential.
In fact, much of our current governmental structure has been directly influenced by the ancient Greeks.
The Egyptians were able to produce incredible feats of engineering without the use of modern-day equipment.
The Chinese made a number of advancements which would exceed any Western innovation of that era.
The Mayans created the most sophisticated writing systems in pre-Columbian America and made tremendous advancements in art, architecture, mathematics, calendar and astronomical systems.
Although each of these civilizations possessed unmatched authority in their time, they have all diminished in influence and the original empires are no longer world powers.
For nearly a thousand years, the might, control, and rule of Roman authority stretched across much of the known world. In fact, many structures they created over a thousand years ago are standing today. Some of the roads, aqueducts, and other structures are still being used. At the height of the Roman Empire, few individuals could envision a world without Rome’s power. However, the Roman Empire collapsed and their power has been severely limited.
Why did these empires fall? Most historians would cite a common list of contributing factors which led to the destruction of most empires.
First, empires are expensive and they often reach a financial breaking point. Second is the lack of cohesion.
As the empires take over other cultures, there is a lack of unity and identity among the people. It no longer meant anything to be a Roman citizen towards the end of the empire.
Third, the empires financially struggled to maintain the military which was necessary to hold power. Fourth, succession became a major issue and many incompetent family members were crowned as leaders. Corruption and poor governance became the norm. Fifth, there was a decrease in the work ethic of the people.
Individuals became complacent and no longer possessed the grit to grow and protect the empire.
Sixth, severe climate changes impacted every aspect of life and placed enormous burdens on an empire’s ability to survive. Seventh, there was a significant decline in morals and values among the people.
Although there were a number of reasons why empires fell, there is a common belief that the most destructive acts did not originate from external sources.
The vast majority of empires collapsed from internal decay and were not defeated by outside forces. These massive empires of strength and power were eventually destroyed from those within their own gates.
It is factual that virtually every empire was defeated by another group, but the fall originated long before the enemies breached the walls.
As I reflected on this commonality, my thoughts were divided into two directions.
First, I was concerned about our nation. We are currently struggling with many of the factors which have weakened other civilizations.
As a nation, we should learn from the history of those before us so that we do not become one of those diminished countries.
Second, I think most of us are personally defeated in a similar manner as are empires. Often, we are not defeated by external forces. We will quickly blame others for our misfortunes, but a careful and accurate analysis of the situation will prove we are our greatest enemy.
Most of our problems and defeats come from self-doubt, lack of confidence, poor work ethic, failure to plan, and a host of other factors which are self-generated.
Many times we are not defeated by the hordes outside our gates, but our lives are sabotaged by internal doubts and personal failures to act.
Perhaps we could learn from history, both as a nation and individually, to improve our country and ourselves.
Please review the following information and contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Also, please remember to email Mrs. Webb ([email protected]) if you have other questions you would like us to address in future articles.
1. We will begin state testing in most grade levels soon. The testing window will open on April 18 and will close between April 29 and May 6 depending on the level.
Each school will have a different schedule because of the variety of tests given at each grade level and within each subject. Please become familiar with this schedule and ensure your child is ready for testing.
This testing is not the only way we determine academic progress, but it is an important factor.
Your child could be more successful if they sleep well, have a healthy breakfast, and approach testing with a positive mental attitude.
Clearly, we do not want students to panic or experience undue stress during testing.
They have been prepared throughout the year, and we simply want them to do their best.
Encourage them to attempt their best effort but do not expect perfection. We appreciate all you do to send your child prepared for success.
3. The Board of Education interviewed the three finalists on April 7. It is my understanding the board will make the final selection on April 12 at its regular board meeting.
The new superintendent is expected to start on July 1. We are fully prepared to make this a smooth transition, and I will do everything in my power to help the next superintendent be successful.
4. Online registration / enrollment for returning students will be open May 9 – 13.
This is the process by which parents update student information and enroll students for the next year.
Please check with your school for specific details on the process.
I suspect that very few things in life are meant to be eternal.
Earthly creations have a short shelf-life and will eventually crumble. Some of our greatest civilizations have lasted only a few decades while others have endured nearly three millenniums.
There is a time and place for all things and the collapse of manmade things is inevitable.
However, we can increase the span of both our nation and our own life by staying true to our internal values.
We must be governed by a strong moral compass and remain faithful to the core values which strengthened us. It may be a great time for our nation, and each citizen, to reflect on our own life and determine if we are making a positive difference.
Before we can help our nation improve, we must first address our own internal issues to ensure we are on the right path.
The advice of “physician heal thyself” is very apt in this situation.
Times can be difficult and challenging, but it is up to us to change that course of history.
It would be incredible to read one day that someone in Morristown, Tennessee was the individual who changed the world.
Thanks for your attention to this article and remember,