For whatever reason, so many individuals question the necessity of studying history.  Particularly as the way history has been taught in the past has not been as inclusive as may be preferred.  But the study of history is such a critical thing for students to do.  In fact, despite the negative reactions of many students, it could be argued that history is the one subject most people continue to learn about in their free time throughout their lives.  This week we’d like to discuss why that might be.  Why should we study history?  Here are five reasons. 

1.  By Learning the Past, We Understand the Present 

Understanding where we’ve come from helps us appreciate where we are.  When we come to learn about the struggles, the suffering, and the difficult decisions that were made to make our world the way it is, we may feel an increased outpouring of gratitude for the good that has come to you because of the hard work of others. 

2.  It Helps Us Make Decisions 

Moving forward, understanding the decisions of the past helps us to make better decisions in the future.  Specifically, learning about the consequences of different decisions, good or bad, help to prepare us for similar decision-making opportunities in the future.  Often, we think of this in light of big, governmental decisions.  But it’s also important to consider individual, more personal decisions as well.  Recently many historians have begun looking deeper into the complexities of the personal lives of many historical figures.  Even if you’re not a great leader, their examples can still be personally applicable. 

3.  Gain Skills 

On a similar note, studying what makes an individual successful can help us gain our own skills for success.  For example, if we find a strong leader to be patient and peaceful, we can learn to gain those same qualities in order to be a strong leader within our own social circle and/or career.  Study your role models for traits and skills that you would like to develop, then put forth effort to do so. 

4.  Increases Empathy 

Possible one of the greatest reasons to study history is simply the fact that the better we understand people, the more empathy we feel for them.  Learning about the past of other cultures, as well as our own, can help us to relate to and unify with those around us in a deeper way.  Learning history brings people together. 

5.  History is Simply Interesting 

I’m a firm believer that there is a time period, person, or event in history that will work for anyone.  History is a subject nearly everyone returns to because it’s fascinating.  There’s always so much more to learn and understand.  And it’s so accessible!  There are documentaries, books, podcasts, even fictional films that may inspire you to do deeper research.   

So, take advantage of opportunities to learn history!  Even if you haven’t found your favorite bit of history yet, there’s still so much to explore, and so many benefits for doing so.  It may not be the most obviously beneficial subject to learn, but it is certainly worth the time.