A History Lesson

There was once an aged king who wished to have a tapestry made of his life and approached the Owl with his request. The Owl, a master tailor, replied that he would be most happy to oblige the king and asked only that he bring to him the pieces. The king complied and eagerly awaited its completion.
Returning on the appointed day, the king was incensed to find that the project had never begun. He angrily approached the Owl who calmly replied that the task had been impossible saying, “You have brought me but a part of your life when you need to bring it all.” The king went home and reluctantly returned with those pieces he had formerly left behind - the bad and the good - the pieces of which he was ashamed, as well as those pieces of which he was proud - and the Owl was able to weave the most beautiful tapestry in the kingdom.
Like a student who takes home only the good papers - so too is our history taught in schools. We, as Americans, need to acknowledge our past and look it squarely in the eye. This does not mean that we “dwell on the negatives” but rather examine them and acknowledge that they are there.
At times when dressed in my “colonial outfit” I have been approached by people expressing grievances toward our American ancestors. Many complaints are irrefutable and we talk about them. I reply that the Taj Mahal was built with slave labor but I would never tear it down. Yes, the American Door of Democracy has been closed by discrimination and is still not fully open - Women have been denied, Blacks enslaved, Hispanics excluded, and we have yet to truly examine the American Indian experience. Like the king, we need to acknowledge this while recognizing the beautiful tapestry which we continue to weave.
“Do not tear down the door, rather, let us all push together."


  1. This reminds me of something Morgan Freeman said while narrating a video about the Declaration of Independence:

    "...How could a man who himself held slaves write with such incredible passion and eloquence about human liberation and the promise of a democratic republic? Why, some may ask, do I bring up such embarrassing truths on this glorious occasion? I answer, the real glory of the Declaration of Independence has been our nation's epic struggle throughout history to close the gap between the ideals of this remarkable document and the sometimes painful realities of American life. The Declaration symbolizes the birth of our nation of course, but ... also the constant struggle to achieve its ideals."