Learning from the Dutch | Teaching Self-Government

Learning from the Dutch

 Before the United States of America even existed, there were these colonies of many different people from different lands.  One of these colonies was called New Amsterdam.  The Dutch people settled this colony.  They were a happy people who enjoyed life.  The king of the Netherlands left the New Amsterdam colony to govern itself, and for a while they did OK.  They made good roads and homes and a popular sea port.  The port of New Amsterdam was one of the biggest trade centers in America.

After a while of governing themselves, and having no real rules, the citizens of New Amsterdam became lazy.  They let their homes and roads fall into dis-repair, they started letting their animals run loose in the city, they never attended church any longer, and took heavily to drinking.  Crime went up, and the city fell into ruin.  Without a vision of what they wanted their New Amsterdam to be like, and set boundaries for living and making choices, the people floundered as governors of their city.

When things hit a low point in New Amsterdam, the king of the Netherlands sent over a new governor to straighten things out.  His name was, Peter Stuyvesant.  Stuyvesant immediately drew lines between what was good, acceptable behavior and what was bad, inappropriate behavior.  He made consequences for wrong actions, instituted days of worship, and rules for how the city must be kept in repair.  People were held accountable for their actions under his rule.

At first the people resisted, and mocked his strict leadership, but after a short time of boundaries, and standards, the people were happier, more successful in business and family relationships, and enjoyed his leadership.  Ultimately, a street was named for this hard nosed Dutchman.  The people of New Amsterdam were grateful for Stuyvesant's rules, and consequences, because then they were able to learn that a person, or people, must learn to govern themselves strictly, according to what is right and what is wrong, in order to find success in their governing.

After some years, the Duke of York won a battle against the Dutch settlers and New Amsterdam was changed to New York.

Since this is a Teaching Self Government website, I probably don't have to say much else about this story.  It is easy to see from these Dutch settlers that a person left to govern themselves with no rules, vision, values, or consequences, will eventually stray from the productive path to happiness.  As parents, we must give our children rules, vision, values, and set a system of consequences in place so they can be HAPPY and thrive in this world of confusion and low standards.

I love history!  (A great children's history resource is "A Story of the World"  By: Susan Wise Bauer)

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