Monday, October 10, 2011

The importance of reading fairy tales in the life of a child

The importance of fairy tales in the life of a child
The wisdom of Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment

I spent many delightful hours as a child reading fairy tales. Even today, many of the stories I devoured ring clear in my head, but maybe I have not read in forty years. Stories dancing princesses escape to an underground world of music and dance, the discovery of a magical ring in a cake baked, the agony of a sister trying to free their brothers from a spell that has turned them into swans, these elements of fairy tales sank deep into my heart and imagination and go on with my day. Why is this?

As I pondered this question, I had a chance encounter with a woman who had been a Christian bookstore for years. He spoke of the many parents who come into the store looking for suitable reading material for their children. When offered the fairy tales, which are avoided for fear of the dark and disturbing images that had the potential to frighten and traumatize its young. Their argument would be something like: .. "Fairy tales are scary and dishonest to present the world my son would be confused as to what is real and what is invented that are full of ogres and witches and giants, so why should I allow my child to be terrified of the things that are not even real? "

Because I write full-length fairy tales Christian background, I decided to explore these issues and address these legitimate concerns of many parents. I remembered a book I read when my first daughter was born: the famous book by Bruno Bettelheim, the uses of enchantment. I remember the impact that the book had on me, and because of its logic, my children decided to dive into the world of fairy tales and fantasy throughout his childhood. Now grown, I have wondered how these stories have shaped his worldview and affected and creativity. They have no doubt that their lives have been enriched by this experience seriously, and the reading of fairy tales has contributed to healthy and safe attitudes about the challenges and terrors of life.

Bruno Bettelheim was a child psychologist, known for his research on autism. The aforementioned book written in 1976 earned him a National Book Award. I love what he writes in the introduction. "Wisdom does not erupted fully developed like Athena from Zeus's head;. It is built, small step by step, small, most irrational origins in adulthood only can an intelligent understanding of the meaning of existence in this world can be obtained from the experiences in it. Unfortunately, many parents want their children's minds to act as his own doing, as if the mature understanding of ourselves and the world, and our ideas about the meaning of life, not have to develop as slowly as our bodies and minds . Today, as in times past, the most important and most difficult task of raising a child is helping him find meaning in life. "

Working in the field of autism have Bettelheim with the challenge of restoring meaning to the lives of severely disturbed children. Most of the literature found for young readers that unfortunately lacks the ability to carry out this task, but I also knew that the literature out the best promise to pass on cultural heritage, which she considered to be fundamental. And this was what he deemed necessary: ​​"To enrich the lives of [the child] should stimulate their imagination, help you develop your intellect and clarify their feelings, be in tune with their anxieties and aspirations; full recognition of their difficulties, while at the same time relate to all aspects of your personality, and this without underestimating, but on the contrary, give full credit to the seriousness of the plight of the child, while promoting self-confidence and in their future. "He will say how important it is that literature provide a moral education which subtly, and by implication only," and expresses the advantages of moral behavior. "His conclusion? "The child finds this kind of meaning through fairy tales."

The German poet Schiller wrote, "lies a deeper meaning in fairy tales, told me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life." How can this be? Bettelheim says, "The stories begin when the child really is in being psychologically and emotionally. They talk about their strong internal pressure in a way that the child understands and unconsciously ... offers examples of both temporary and permanent solutions to urgent problems. "

Parents want to protect their children from evil, scary things in the world would do well to remember that this is the world we are preparing to face. Hiding the world from his conscience, trying to postpone or color of the harsh realities of life, we are doing a disservice. We have the Bible as the leading example of openness and revealing and honest exposure of evil in all its forms. God does not condemn the murder, rape, betrayal, cruelty, incest and sexual passion, even from the pages of his word. Parents may argue that a child needs to learn about these things, and it's true, there is a time and season for everything, and some are better for cover when a child can be emotionally mature to understand and cope with some of these things.

This is what Bettelheim says: "In children and adults, the unconscious is a powerful determinant of behavior. When the repressed unconscious and its contents was denied entry into consciousness, then the time the conscious mind of the person will be partially overwhelmed by derivatives of these unconscious elements, or what is required to maintain control so rigid and compulsive in his personality can become severely disabled parents' belief that prevails is that a child must be diverted from what troubles him most :.... their anxieties and nameless formless, chaotic and angry and even violent fantasies. Many parents believe that only conscious reality or pleasant and wish-fulfilling images should be presented to the children to be exposed only to the sunny side of things. but nourishes and price of a single side of the mind only a one-sided way, and real life is not all sunshine. "

In place of refuge for children from the evils of life, we can equip them with the necessary tools to face them head on with confidence. Bettelheim says that the struggle against severe difficulties in life is inevitable, is an intrinsic part of human experience. If one is not left behind ", but firmly met with unexpected difficulties and often unfair, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious."

The elements of fairy tales

The fairy tale, according to Bettelheim, the child is faced squarely with the most fear in life: death, aging, loss of a parent, trapped or missing, and other problems. The fairy tale simplifies all situations, enabling the child to cope with the problem in its most essential. The figures are clearly drawn and the details, unless very important, are eliminated. All characters are typical and not unique. Evil is as common as any virtue, and both are contained in the shape of a figure or actions. Evil is not without its attractions, "symbolized by the mighty dragon or a giant, the power of the witch, the queen of the guile of" Snow White "." In many fairy tales the usurper succeeds for a time, as the sisters of Cinderella and the stepmother, but in the end, evil is punished, and the moral is that crime does not pay. Because the child follows the hero through his journey, can be identified with the hero in all his struggles, sufferings and triumph with him. Bettelheim says that the child "makes such identifications all on his own, and internal and external struggles of the hero's moral impression on him."

The most important element in fairy tales, to me, is the moral choice presented to the hero. The child learns that elections have consequences, and the child can choose what kind of person who wants to be. Only by "going out to the world" is the hero to learn and acquire happiness. The fairy tale is future-oriented and guides the child, so instead of escaping to a world of unreality, you are given tools to help build character and courage to face what the world is presented to it. Often the hero is lost, alone, scared. These are the feelings of a child identifies with. However, his hero is guided and given help along the way due to his determination and courage. Thus, fairy tales work their own kind of magic, in his reading, the child feels understood and enriched, giving the child what Bettelheim says is "a delighted quality because he does not quite know how have worked their wonder stories about him.

"Fairy tales, unlike any other form of literature, direct the child to discover his identity and his vocation, and also suggest that experiences are needed to develop his character more. Fairy tales rewarding intimate lives, the good thing is within reach despite adversity, but only if one is not afraid of dangerous fights, no one can never achieve true identity of "This is a basic principle of the Bible as well:. That those who want to please God and gain his favor to endure the difficulties, so that these trials produce a character of strength, and hope, and hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).

Therefore, do not rule out the fairy tales as a bad influence on their children. Instead, be selective and choose age-appropriate stories to give them. But do not be afraid to unleash their imagination and let them face their darkest fears. By giving them to identify with the heroes, you are allowing fear to the surface in a subtle way, and allow your child to find the courage and indirectly making moral choices that will build your character and have influence on the rest of his life.

I look at my grown daughters, and see how that fantasy world of imagination and helped them to confront evil and fight, gave them the confidence and courage, and stimulated his imagination poured into his art, writing, poetry and music. We can not hide our children from the evils of the world, and even explain everything in a pat of the Word of God does not dispel the fears and concerns of depth has a child. Just to bring to the surface in a safe and imaginative we as parents help them mature into responsible adults. I think of that word, responsible, and able to answer, because that's our goal: help our children to be able to respond competently to any situation life puts before them, and fairy tales will help them do just that.