My last blog focused on the foundational truths of fairy tales and how these truths help children with empathy, knowing right from wrong, and focusing on positive future realities for their lives.


Fairy tales are filled with educational treasures
With childlike simplicity, fairy tales punctuate independent action and personal responsibility.  The tales demonstrate not just what to think, but how to think positively about life’s difficulties and barriers, and what it means to positively influence others.  
I am excited to continue sharing how fairy tales can be even more useful in teaching and training your child.  In this article, we will explore how these old tales give children a patterns to apply in education, leadership, goal achievement, use of imagination, rational problem solving, opened-minded thinking, and disciplined character!  
“Once upon a time” is also about the here and now
There’s so much to say on the benefits of “ once upon a time” narratives.  Here is what some legendary notables have to say!


Einstein was once asked by the mother of very young aspiring scientist, how she could better prepare her daughter for academic excellence.  Einstein answered: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”   Surprising? Simplistic? Childlike? Yes, and he was one of the greatest, accomplished minds in all the world.

Now, before you write off this ridiculous comment, and chalk it up to one of Albert’s bad hair days (which we know he had many)  let’s look at a few of the characteristics found in fairy tales that inspire the young mind!


“I was acutely aware how far superior an education that stresses independent action and personal responsibility is to one that relies on drill, external authority and ambition. – Albert Einstein


Scholarly Traits Found in Fairy Tales

Fairy tales provide the launching pad for imagination to soar  
A very essential commodity for intelligence.  Well, let the man explain it himself…


Scholarly Traits Found in Fairy Tales

Fairy tales provide the launching pad for imagination to soar  
A very essential commodity for intelligence.  Well, let the man explain it himself…
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Fairy tales develop critical thinking for better future possibilities
By exhibiting the consequences of choices, both good and bad, critical thinking skills are engaged. The definition of critical thinking, from the Foundation of Critical Thinking, is ” A mode of thinking about any subject, content or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing and reconstructing it.  Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self monitored, and self-corrective thinking.

Tales inspire a child to want to be the hero, not a scoundrel. Thus, a child begins to think like a hero and sees the possibilities of good endings and honor, developing from even the most frightening and difficult experiences.


Fairy tales provide life lessons in leadership and responsibility 
Characters who exhibit passionate, take-charge attitudes and  creative solutions to various adversities and situations can inspire children to take on life in the same manner  


“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” – Steven Covey


Stephen Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He also has a program for children called,  The Leader In Me, which was inspired by two of the United States’ Founding Fathers, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.


Gleaning from these giants, Covey developed seven habits he feels people should incorporate into their  lives to be more effective, goal oriented, and successful.


The first habit is to be proactive and take responsibility. Covey emphasizes that without adopting the first habit,  all of the other habits are pointless.  I think Albert Einstein would agree!  


If inspirational leadership, critical thinking  and imagination can be cultivated in our children, and help shape their pursuits of education, we need to provide our children with the seeds for this most important harvest…fairy tales!  


“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.” – Charles Dickens


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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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