A Fairy-Tale Hope

Authored by Dr. Petroc Willey in Issue #33.1 of The Sower

A source of great hope to the very young can be fairy tales. For this reason they should really be part of the essential reading for pre-school children and beginning readers. For any who need convincing of their value in offering solid moral formation and encouraging the necessary values and help essential for enabling children to find ‘reasons for living and hoping’ I would recommend an excellent book by Bruno Bettleheim: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.[i] What I write here owes much to the wisdom contained in that book.

Fairytales offer hope first because they are realistic about evil

Because of this they enable children to face the things that can destroy hope. Despite popular identification of the term ‘Fairy tale’ with make believe and the avoidance of reality, the very opposite is true - fairy tales are full of ogres, giants, witches, wicked stepmothers, indifferent fathers, spiteful brothers and jealous sisters. They are filled with death, grief, danger and struggle. The pages teem with characters who are prone to all the basic human vices and weaknesses - fear, cruelty, hard-heartedness, greed, stupidity, disobedience, anger, thoughtlessness, cruelty, cunning and deception - all of these are found in the basic repertoire of stories. Fairy tales, then, do not shield a child from all that he knows about the world and about himself - including the basic facts of ugliness, evil, sin and death.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Youth & Young Adult Ministry: The Five Myths of Finding and Forming Leaders
By Lauren Wright
I never thought that I was going to work with middle school students. All throughout college, I fully expected that I would spend my years in ministry with ninth through twelfth graders. But the Lord had other plans, and post-college I found myself tasked with building a new middle school youth ministry program. I was young, I was inexperienced,... Read more
RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Opening the Treasures of the Church—The Catechism in Adult Faith Formation
By Elizabeth Siegel
Too often, those responsible for adult faith formation in their parishes set aside the Catechism of the Catholic Church as too difficult and thus too daunting for their audience. Or they might consider it not relevant to people’s experience, not practical or personal enough, or uninspiring. To overlook the Catechism as a foundational resource in... Read more
Abriendo los tesoros de la Iglesia: el Catecismo en la Formación de la Fe para Adultos
By Elizabeth Siegel
Con demasiada frecuencia, los responsables de la formación de la fe para adultos en sus parroquias dejan a un lado al Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica por ser demasiado difícil y, por lo tanto, demasiado abrumador para su auditorio. Quizás también lo consideren irrelevante para la experiencia de la gente, poco práctico o personal, o poco... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now