Better for it

Monday, January 31, 2011

When I was little my mom took me to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit in Seattle. I didn't really know much about it except that we were taking a 3 hour drive to see an ancient Egyptian and if there were time, I'd get to go up the Space Needle. I was just excited for a road trip.

I remember meandering around the glass cases and seeing the famous golden slippers,
mummies, a tomb and a hundred other various artifacts. I also remember being in awe of how everything seemed to be made of shiny gold. I asked my mom how much it was all worth. She replied, "Well, it's priceless. But that's not the most important thing."

I was saddened over the weekend when I heard that looters repelled into a museum in Cairo and damaged artifacts of King Tut. Luckily the items can all be repaired in some way. There were many Egyptian citizens who were frustrated by the looting and the sheer disregard for a precious history.

Some may wonder what that has to do with us as Americans or why we should care. I know some don't and that's OK I guess. But for me, it's a teaching moment for my kids.

That most "important thing" my mom was talking about to me that day was to learn to have an appreciation for art because it will help me learn about people of the world, all God's people. Not so one can be boastful about all they know; no one likes that. But to learn about others so this big world doesn't seem so big. Those artifacts humanize a history and culture.

When we go on vacation, Jon and I believe in doing or showing the kids something that is historically pertinent to where we are driving through or visiting. My dad used to do that. We'd moan when he'd pull over to show us a historical sight. Not another stop in the Badlands, please! No more reading the roadside signs! We've already seen Old Faithful, when can you find us a waterpark??

That was until he took us to a real ghost town and we wandered through old buildings. He kept telling us to watch out for nails because we were in the middle of nowhere and there wouldn't be anyone to give us tetanus shots. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Last summer we were able to take my niece and nephew to Washington DC and tour the many exhibits at the Smithsonian. It was interesting to me to see what items they photographed: The Hope Diamond, First lady ball gowns, Lincoln's top hat, dinosaur bones, Dorothy's ruby slippers, World War II memorabilia, The Berlin Wall and much more.

So you can probably understand too, the Egyptians' frustration with their museum cases in ruins. I would be sad too if the Smithsonian fell to such fate.

So, enjoy your surroundings, find something new to learn about the area with a fresh perspective and even though the kids may groan at what they don't yet understand, they will see its importance someday and be better for it.

Oh, and the views from the Space Needle - spectacular!

All this talk of King Tut reminds me of Steve Martin...does it you too?


  1. It is dismaying to see some who destroy their own heritage, not to mention human lives. I am so hoping for a peaceful end to it. I'm glad you wrote about it.

  2. The whole thing in Egypt makes me incredibly sad for sure.

    How fun that your dad made you stop.

    We took a trip across the country many years ago and it took forever, cuz we did just that.
    I love it now that I look back.

    The King Tut remains must have been unbelievable. Very sad.

  3. I agree! Why bother going to a place and only seeing the amusement parks and movie theaters? Every place on the earth has something that gives it a unique flavor. Kids can appreciate that if they're exposed to it.

  4. I so agree. It makes me so sad that people would destroy their heritage and that so few could destroy so much.

  5. Before Cairo this was in Philadelphia at the Franklin Science Museum. At the time I didn't spend that extra 30ish dollars to see it with the 2 younger boys, but after reading your post I wish I would have. I love your perspective.

  6. The whole thing in Egypt makes me so sad.


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