A Lesson Adults Could Use Too

Here's Simcha Fisher on the problem with the way we teach history. Riffing off an article showing that medieval witch hunts weren't Church-sponsored, she writes:
when something really big and awful goes on for 300 years, you can’t sum up its cause or significance in a single sentence (unless that sentence is “It’s a fallen world”).  Nothing is that simple.
But it's a mistake to try to teach little kids all the complications.
we teach the little ones that Columbus was a hero, Lincoln strode into battle to free the slaves, and God made the world in seven days.  All of this is true.  The details are more subtle, but the basic myth tells you something important that the details can’t convey.
Modern history books for children will have none of this fairytale foolishness.  They want to paint a truer, fuller picture of history by debunking myths — but they do this by oversimplifying in the other direction, and they end up telling an equally false story.  By insisting on the deary, mitigating details, they teach children that no one ever fights to the death for justice, and that no one is really courageous, that nothing is noble.  What a terrible lesson — what a lie!
Her observation:
I don’t lie to my kids.   Soon enough, children learn that there are details, there are complications.  But I know they haven’t lived long enough to understand that sin and weakness go along with courage and nobility — that they can exist in the same man.  This subtle understanding is something they will need to have eventually.  But trying to teach it prematurely doesn’t give you educated students, it gives you ignorant cynics.
I think the inability to understand that sin and weakness can coexist in the same person with courage and nobility accounts for the bulk of our political discourse today.