Lately in the K-2 classroom, students have enjoyed learning about medieval history. Taking a notable figure or two from that time period each week, the students hear about that man’s life and actions, and discuss his character and how God used him in the grand scheme of history events.
As students have learned about different historical figures, they are being shown how to examine each man’s character for good or evil qualities. The more controversial the figure, the more vehement the students become in picking apart his character! In the case of Clovis, King of the Franks, the students were able to point out a few faults in his early life, but these were all overshadowed by his conversion to Christianity and baptism through the influence of his wife. Although the students may not have caught every detail of that history lesson, none of them missed the fact that Clovis finally became a Christian, and all of them were happy. In contrast, after learning about Mohammed, many hands were raised to explain in no uncertain terms the problems with this man’s life. First and foremost, he didn’t believe in Jesus—cue the young voices: “What was wrong with him? He worshipped Satan? He broke the First Commandment!” The indignation that the students expressed after learning about someone who was dead and buried over a thousand years ago shows that history is more than a dry record of events. History tells about the lives of real men that had to reckon with the same God that the students love.
History also shows how God provides for the lives of His Christians and never fails in His love for us. It has been exciting to explain history in a way that shows God’s hand in arranging specific events. For instance, the students recently listened to the account about Charles Martel’s victory against the Saracens at the Battle of Tours, which not only brought a political gain, but stopped the influx of Muslims from Spain from choking out Christianity. Learning about the Battle of Tours introduced the students to more than just an isolated event from the distant past—it shows them a link in a beautiful chain of events by which God has caused the preservation of His Church from that time all the way to the present. I am sure that as we continue to read about the lives of more famous medieval men, we will see more clear instances of God’s divine ordering of history for the good of His Christians.