Everybody wants his or her children to grow up well educated. Usually, this starts early with the types of books children read and the types of television programs the little ones watch. Of course, parents want to choose valuable educational tools. For example, Sesame Street is a successful program that parent encourage them to watch and children have been enjoying for decades. Despite the effort, children’s educational books and programs do not always have the qualities that they should and they certainly are not the same kind that they used to be before the modern invention of technology.
This argument became apparent to me when I was reading The Wisdom of the Myths by Luc Ferry. He is the former National Minister of Education in France who wrote a few pages of comments about children’s educational programs and settings, before introducing his description of Greek mythology in his book. He argues that not only the programs on television are most often lacking in serious content, but they are also frequently interrupted by commercials that try to orient children toward a society of consumption, the world of getting and spending (Ferry, 39). This ideology trains their mind to want to hoard more and more stuff, finding happiness in objects around them, instead of finding happiness within themselves. Ferry argues that, “the less we experience a rich interior life on a moral, spiritual and cultural level the more we are given over to the frenetic need to acquire and consume” (Ferry 39). His overall point is that parents need to nurture the rich interior life of children by valuing the universal human struggles that show up in classic literatures, such as in Greek mythology. They carry within them the human challenge of birth, death, suffering, punishment, hope, justice, courage and many other values that children have to face in life. Coming to terms with these issues, the little ones are better prepared to grow up and gain an inner balance and strength of character. This will help them to be less dependent on stuff around them that they are driven to frenetically buy and more dependent on an inner wisdom to be guided by.
I think this is a valuable lesson for parents and caregivers to learn. Children need to develop a rich interior life. After all, things come and go, but the human wisdom stays for a lifetime. So, next time you are in a book store, do yourself a favour and buy some books that represent classic literature to read for children at bedtime. They will thank you for it when they grow up and have to make life changing decisions!
Ferry, Luc. Wisdom of Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life. HarperCollins: 2014, http://www.amazon.com/The-Wisdom-Myths-Mythology-Learning-ebook/dp/B00DB361G0
M. J. Mandoki