“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.”Albert Einstein
I am reading "The Uses of Enchantment" by Bruno Bettelheim
Bruno Bettelheim was a child psychologist, famous for his research on autism.
I love what he writes in the introduction.
"Wisdom does not burst forth fully developed like Athena out of Zeus's head; it is built up, small step by small step, from most irrational beginnings..... Today, as in times past, the most important and also the most difficult task in raising a child is helping him to find meaning in life."
|Viktor MikhajlovichVasnetsov "Song of Oleg the Eternal"|
"The Uses of Enchantment" is a book about the importance of fairy stories to a child's psychological development.
I have read many books which underline the human need for story as a kind of medicine.
Certainly in many Native traditions, story is used as a fundamental form of psychic "medicine".
|"Woman of The Grove" Warwick Goble|
The book argues that in modern society children need folk tale medicine even more than ever.
In a tribal community there would be little to no change in day to day life for the community within hundreds or even thousands of years.
A sense of structure, security and belonging in the community would be the child's birth right.
His self hood would awaken slowly and naturally through stories, rhythm, work, play and initiation rituals.
In a modern, fast paced, market driven society, canyon wide culture gaps have opened up between parents and their offspring.
Our grandparents grew up with a completely different lifestyle and set of values to us.
These days we are ofter searching desperately for fragments of meaning in our busy lives.
It is as if each generation has to start from scratch.
Find it's own stories, solutions and pathways through life's often rocky terrain.
"In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected."Charles Dickens~
The ancient tradition of folk tales and fairy stories act as a universal platform for human experience through the ages.
Children engage with fairy tales intuitively.
Often they ask for the same stories over and over again and these well loved stories are often reenacted during their play.
Many times, the tales they relate to most directly resonate with their own issues, fears or concerns of the moment.
The tale gives them a safe passageway through their feelings.
Feelings that might be otherwise overwhelming.
My children, as all children have a serious need for justice.
Their sense of right and wrong is very black and white.
They love to see that good wins over evil.
Yet fairy tales are also full of ambiguity, nuance and paradox as well as conventional (purely good or evil) archetypes.
Through story children learn about the complexity of both the inner mechanics of the world they live in and their own inner world.
They learn that "fortune favours the brave"
They confront their fears and learn the importance of trusting their intuition.
They also learn that being honest and authentic is one of the bravest things they can do.
Fairy tales feed a child's inner hearth of imagination and possibility.
Through the fantasy of story children meet, and learn the ways of the Monsters, Heroines, Tricksters and Sages of the collective consciousness of their own particular culture.
They also learn how to discover and navigate the realms of their own imaginations and subconscious worlds.
“Each person needs a field of activity for his inner life, for his willing, feeling, and finally for his thinking soul.
The child needs this field of activity for the strength of his soul as does each adult. If I do not present the child with the images of the language of the fairy tales, then the contents of his soul will be supplied by the idle talk of the alley.
Car makes and money concerns; trivial, unimaginative bits of everyday conversation will rule the field of his soul, resulting in a field filled with weeds.”~ Helmut von Kugelgen