About Influencing Young Minds
In Plato's Republic, he asked, "Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales, which may be devised by casual persons; and to receive into their minds ideas, for the most part, the very opposite of those we should wish them to have when they are grown up?"
An excellent question parents should ponder.
A daily barrage of influences, both good and bad, bombards children, in today's society. From birth, their sponge-like minds begin to absorb the things they feel and see, and once their language skills take hold, what they hear. Parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and family friends all influence what that absorption includes. The media is another source of influence, and a frightening one at that. Plato would be mortified at all the "casual tales" we as parents today allow out children to absorb through television, videos and other forms of media.
Greek mythology and the ancient Greek philosophers gave the world a treasure-trove of "moral-lessons" literature. Their intent? To advance culture and to assist the commom-man to attain a higher level of understanding in order that humanity would strive to live right.
Aesop's Fables are a wonderful compilation of short little narratives that touch on, and teach about, many moral issues. They are ancient tales, and may seem out-of-date, but can be tweaked and revised into modern anecdotes that teach valuable lessons of good character. The Roman poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, wrote about the need for parents to guide their children.
Many modern-day educators and parents have cast away the old moral tales as too violent, too horrific and an inducer of nightmares in small children. To some extent this may be true, but to my mind, these tales were not meant as a bedtime story to delay lights out -- "just one more story, pleeeeassssse!" I think they were written as a teaching tool: to be read together -- parent and child, or teacher and child -- and then discussed. How can this concept be applied to the child's life? These valuable tales were meant for the education and training of the young mind -- to turn the light on -- not off!
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