The informal Christmas truce of 1914, complete with handshakes, songs, and even ball games, saw about 100,000 soldiers pausing the war to make and experience the magic of Christmas. All along the front little groups of soldiers singing of peace and shaking hands while in the middle of fighting World War I!
Seniors Read Christmas in the Trenches to Grandchildren and Others
Many older adults have heard stories of wartime struggles – both at home and on the battlefield. Although this is story has been fictionalized to enable easy telling of the events, it relates a story which reflects the actual experience of thousands of young soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
Grandparents and other older adults may find one of their finest activities over the holidays could be the reading of this poignant book and sharing any stories they may have heard from people who went before them. This not only exposes children to learning about history, but helps them understand that history is about real people and has a vital influence on the present and future.
This can empower youth to realize their own actions can be important and affect the directions of the future. (This is a connection which is sometimes missed when history is studied.) Sharing such hopeful stories can make Christmas and its music and traditions echo hope and joy year after year.
The Book Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
A veteran of World War I shared his amazing and awe inspiring Christmas of 1914 with his grandson when both Allies and German soldiers voted with their feet by responding to each other’s caroling in an attempt to still have some sort of Christmas, even in the trenches of the battlefield.
Henri Sorensen’s illustrations seemlessly reflect the spirit of the occasion and transport the reader back into the events and feelings being portrayed. Maybe this book should be on more Christmas gift lists.
Why Grandparents Should Share Tough and Touching Moments in History
Sometimes people wonder if children should be exposed to stories about war and other painful times in history. Yet it is worth considering that if they are not taught history as real people experienced it, how can society hope for them to grow up and manage the future of the world?
Young people have a better chance of designing their choices for the future if they can base their expectations on reality of the past as well as their own ideals and inspirations. Since the future is in their hands, seniors can play a big part in helping them see that – although life isn’t always fair – they can play a crucial part in making their world a more fair place to live.
Older adults who share truth about the past are equipping the youth to create even better realities of the future since learning from history is hope personified. The story needs to be passed on and shared by seniors who, upon reading the book themselves, almost remember. Older adults can share their particular perspective and pass on that wisdom to the young.
After the Great War, many veterans could not forget the night of the Great Peace. Although there were many tragic deaths and injuries, those men took hope in their hearts home with them. Grandparents have the wonderful opportunity of nurturing the flame for peace in those children they love. Maybe, just as the soldiers sang Silent Night in two languages, children can learn to live harmoniously in peace with a diverse world.