October 14, 2017

Fables, Fairy Tales and Foundational Truths




He said, “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”


No, this is not a quote about a homeschool mom on a warm May afternoon.  But it could be because this is a foundational truth about love and being loved and being Real.  Most homeschool moms have experienced that sensation of being rubbed off from love.  There were many an afternoon that I called myself “The Velveteen Rabbit”.  This is one of the many foundational truths found in Margery Williams’ book, The Velveteen Rabbit.


These authors of old had a way of capturing the essence of a truth with tales of heroic and  endearing characters, beautiful imagery, use of symbolism.   Those stories end by teaching our children that although, life at times may be hard, there is always hope!




Here are some foundational truths found in a sampling of children’s stories. Remember to always discuss with your children the truths that are exhibited in the timeless tales.


Here are three foundational truths that children can glean from these parables.


1 - Empathy          
“The Ugly Duckling” is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. This story addresses our need to belong and the universal pain we feel when we are not accepted.  Also the story reveals that we should not let others define us.  Although it is not easy, when we are on the other side of the painful experience, we have learned a valuable lesson on how to treat others that are different.  There are many tales that could be used as a beginning point for discussions with your children.


2 - Right from Wrong
The simple Celtic tale of “The Three Little Pigs” written by Joseph Jacobs, demonstrates that there is a right and wrong way to invest your money and time.  The first two pigs were foolish and greedy and only thought of  the present.  The third pig’s good judgement and diligence built his house out of costly, strong bricks and saved his two brothers. His brothers saw the necessity of planning ahead and meeting needs instead of wants and together, the three brothers  vanquished the Big Bad Wolf for good!  These old tales are full of examples of right and wrong choices and the rewards for good decisions and consequences for bad ones. What rich material to use with your children about outcomes of their decisions!


3 - Hope
I believe hope is the most important ingredient in our fables and tales. Vision is the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  Proverbs 29:18. The vision of these tales is hope of better times or of a dream come true. 

A Favorite Tale
My personal favorite fairy tale is, “Beauty and the Beast.” I even like the Disney version.  This adaptation is from an eighteenth century fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince.  Belle is full of hope, she is hoping for an abundant life full of love, literature and adventure. She is prepared to wait for what she wants.


The Beast has grown tired of waiting and hope is all but gone for him. However, hope is renewed with redemption, trust, acceptance and the willingness to help another without demanding anything in return.  All is restored and evil once again meets its befitting end.



A Brighter Future
Many of our children today have their hopes and dreams dashed because they feed on the disturbing realities of our modern world and see things too mature for their young minds.  

Some of today’s films, books and television shows for children tell a harsh, hopeless story that even blur the lines between heroes and villains.  Children’s stories should not only be enjoyable but offer character lessons, clear lines between right and wrong and most of all hope!


Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.  Otherwise, you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.   - C.S. Lewis

 

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