For Love of Children

BeautyAndBeastby Anniel4/29/15
I chose for several years to work one day a week as a volunteer librarian for three classes at the elementary school my children attended. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and I learned much about children’s literature from the children themselves. One of the best lessons I learned was how children react to the choices they make in the books they read.

I had always tried to be friendly with the kids as they came to check out their books and they were polite enough. One day soon after I began volunteering, the first girl in line for checkout put her book down and, as I computer scanned it, I saw it was about someone making a quilt. I picked it up and told her I was a quilter and how interesting the book looked. The next girl in line plunked her book down with a challenging look on her face, and I knew immediately I had better find something to say about her choice, too. One by one the girls watched as I scanned their books and commented on them.

Then came the boys, eyes watching carefully to see what I would say about their books. Fortunately the first boy had a book on spiders, so I told him he had to scan the book by himself because the cover had the grodiest spider I had ever seen and I couldn’t touch the book. For a few weeks the boys went to great lengths to find the most disgusting picture books available. I perfected a convincing shudder and icky noises to keep them satisfied. [pullquote]As far as I can tell, staying silent and not reading worthwhile books or telling stories to children is the modern equivalent of book burning.[/pullquote]

That first day was kind of fun, but it only got better as the weeks went by. The girls began spending a few moments showing me the books they were checking out and what they thought of the books they had read. The boys seemed to listen in and they became (somewhat) more serious in what they read and spoke about. I wound up having all the kids scan their own books in and out themselves so we would have time to talk about their thinking. I’m still surprised how much love I developed for those children and how much I learned from them.

The younger children seemed to prefer books on Fairy Tales or mythical creatures, so I revisited many of the stories I knew from my youth and talked to the children about those tales. I knew every Fairy Tale or spin-off available in the library.

November 27, 1991, was the 6th birthday of my youngest daughter, Cate. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast had been in the theaters for “FIVE WHOLE DAYS, MOM, and we haven’t seen it yet.” So off we went with the birthday girl, a few of her friends, our oldest daughter, and a gaggle of unwilling brothers and their friends to see the movie.

The boys were so mortified we had to send them to sit a few rows away in order to escape their eye-rolling sighs and histrionics, while the girls, no matter their age, enjoyed every minute of the movie. Cate and her friends, in particular, loved the story and were happy until we got out of the theater. That was when the boys started their critique of the movie.

“Did you hear that stupid teapot sing ‘surely as the sun rises in the east?’ It doesn’t either. And aren’t dancing forks and knives just so sweet?” A technically correct statement about the sun by an Alaskan kid, but maddening for the girls to hear, they loved the teapot and dancing china and silverware. The girls told the boys to be quiet, but no, they just couldn’t stop panning the “childish” movie.

Finally we got to the pizza place for dinner and cake and one of the girls asked me what I thought of the movie. “What do you think the movie was about?” I asked. Everyone looked puzzled and said it was “a stupid love story” from the boys, or “an awesome love story” from the girls.

“You missed the whole point,” I said, “What it teaches you is that men are all beasts until beauty tames them.” Gaping mouths greeted this statement, and then silence descended on the table.

“You don’t really believe that, do you?” my oldest daughter finally asked. She looked shocked.

“Absolutely I do,” I said and continued chewing my pizza.

“Do you think we’re beasts or something?” asked my oldest son. He looked distinctly puzzled, and I knew I had to be careful.

“Not entirely,” I answered, “but you might have better table manners if you took the movie seriously and were trying to impress some cute girl your own age.” I finally told them they were all fine young men and women, but getting married to the right person at an appropriate time might have much to teach them.

The boys finally settled into a more quiet and rational discussion of the movie.

I’m trying not to offend any Hans Christian Anderson fans here, but really, what is the worth of Fairy Tales, or even Nursery Rhymes for that matter? Should you tell them to your children and grandchildren? What exactly do they teach about life?

Let’s see, the main ingredients of good Fairy Tales usually consist of a handsome heroic prince, probably on a quest, or disguised by a curse on his outward appearance, like being a beast or a frog; a heroine, beautiful of course, but with a hardship or curse placed upon her because of her goodness and beauty; an evil, jealous witch or step-mother, sometimes both; various fairy godmothers, dwarves, animals, enchanted castles, and magic mirrors. Love versus jealousy and hate, good versus evil are the most important ingredients in the whole mix.

When I was a child all parents I knew taught their children Nursery Rhymes, nonsense songs and Fairy Tales as a way of preserving the great truths of human existence. When and why did that stop?

Maybe it began with the demise of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. After all parents shouldn’t lie to their children, should they? I remember the serious articles written about the deleterious effects on a child when he finds his parents have not always been truthful about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Such horror!

Yes, I do know parents who don’t want to upset their precious little ones’ psyches or “scare” them, or “lie” to them about what is true or false. And there are those who don’t want their children to be “uncomfortable” about such things as gruff billy goats or Ogres. As though children will never face real fright that a story might have prepared them for. As far as I can tell, staying silent and not reading worthwhile books or telling stories to children is the modern equivalent of book burning. Children’s minds are impoverished when their civilization is lost to them.

Yet these same parents will allow their children’s reading at school to be determined by poor teachers and Common Core. Much of what now passes for children’s literature is ugly and degrading, and the same parents who want their children protected are willing to submit to the bilge being taught in the schools.

People stopped telling civilizing tales for young children, and later banned books like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, or even Shakespeare, because they are supposedly racist or whatever. Even in college libraries there are those who want to put warning labels on the covers of non-PC books they decide might be offensive to somebody.

Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales and good books can teach boys to be chivalrous and heroic, to appreciate virtue, in themselves and in the women they come to admire. Girls learn to look at the dorks and geeks as more than their outward appearance. They, like the boys, can learn what is admirable in the people about them. Through Fairy Tales they learn about restraint and the proper bounds for love and marriage.

The best children’s books should enlarge the children’s minds, and have good taste in reading as one objective.

When are children going to be allowed to really read again, to obtain the knowledge necessary to grow up as civilized beings, and when will all the nonsense stop?

Treat a child you know to a good book today. Talk to the child about what they think about what they read. Their insight could surprise you.

You might even try reading aloud, for love of that child. • (2712 views)

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39 Responses to For Love of Children

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I don’t wish to embarrass you or put undue pressure on you, but this is just the type of essay I had envisioned as typical (in the best of times) for this site. Rather than just a rant, you’ve woven in a morality tale inside the subject itself of morality tales. You and Deana (and Jerry) with your latest articles have once again fulfilled what I always hoped would be this site’s goal: Beyond the mere bitching and belly-aching to creativity and artistry (within a conservative/Christian/Western Civilization context). The human touch rather than the increasingly boring (at least to me) political touch.

    As a recent article I read noted (which I think Mr. Kung had sent me), politics is a part of culture, and we ignore it at our own risk. But it is not all of culture by any means. And yet look at how much of conservative media is often little more than a one-note politicized bitch-fest.

    Bravo, Annie. Again, I don’t want to scare you off with too much praise by raising expectations.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I’ve had the opportunity in recent weeks to watch (by way of the Family Channel most notably) some of the old Disney animated films, such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The only scene I had remembered from seeing the latter as a child was the scene in which one of the good witches turns Maleficent’s pet crow into stone. When I mentioned the first movie to Elizabeth (whose hours make it more difficult for her to watch evening movies), she recited the entire “Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” song, correctly repeating the nonsense words “sallagadula” and “mechikabula”.

    My 6th grade teacher had a play version of Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in which I got to play one of the swindlers. It’s always fun playing the villain. And of course that one doesn’t feature the usual heroics.

  3. Jerry Richardson says:


    Nice article!

    In my first two grades in elementary school, we read and our teachers read stories to us. Oh, how I loved the stories.

    I remember very well my first and second grade teachers. My first-grade teacher was Mrs. Harris. To my first grader-mind she seemed ancient—she was probably at least in her 40s. The most memorable incident I remember concerned one of the report cards she sent home for me.

    In those days the elementary report cards had a place for a deportment comment. On my report card under the deportment comment she wrote “inclined to mischief”; yeah, she pegged me, I been that way all my life.

    For any other student this might not have been a biggie; but it just so happened that my father was the superintendent of the school system.

    Wow! Needless to say he added some strong counsel, directed to me, concerning my “mischievous” deportment. Didn’t happen again.

    My second-grade teach was named Miss Pigg. And she was beautiful. At least to all of us second-grade boys. We all had a big crush on Miss Pigg. Miss Pigg only had to look a bit cross at one of us to immediately crush our little hearts; so to say the least we never, ever were intentionally “inclined to mischief” in Miss Pigg’s class.

    Funny how I remember so well my first two elementary teachers but barely remember any elementary teachers beyond those grades. I don’t know why.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      On my report card under the deportment comment she wrote “inclined to mischief”;

      I once went home with a report card with a message that said (as best as memory can serve): “Bradley has been making unusual noises in the classroom.”

      I think that was from Mrs. Hartley and third grade once again (and now that I think of it, I think Mrs. Harris was second grade and a very nice lady…Hartley was more of a Nurse Ratched.). I have no idea what those noises were. No doubt I was screwing around. Whether one time or all the time, I forget. But I had the habit of being the one who got caught, so I believe my misbehavior was disproportionate to the number of transgressions. Still, if one factored in all the times one wasn’t caught…

      Miss Pigg. No kidding. Reminds me of a girl in school who was actually kind of cute but her last name was “Haug” (pronounced “hog”). Life’s not always fair. Wonder where she is today.

      Speaking of remembering teachers, I think the order was:

      Kindergarten: Mrs. Turner (helped reduce the trauma of entering the system)
      1st grade: Mrs. Shaw (possibly doubled as an angel)
      2nd grade: Mrs. Harris
      3rd grade: Mrs. Hartley
      4th grade: Mrs. Irons (reminds me sort of how Deana might have been…sharp, engaged, and competent)
      5th grade: Mrs. Kromm (the opposite of Nurse Ratched…so much of a push-over I still feel guilty for some of the liberties we took)
      6th grade: Mr. Scott (Definitely a disciplinarian and somewhat of a Dickensian character.)

      I think it was Kevin Williamson who wrote a piece a few years ago that mentioned that the public school system is inherently and unabashedly socialist. Public schools are part of an overall Plan to make little economic cogs out of us. And considering the state of waste and degradation that is intellectual, moral, and spiritual poverty, there are worse plans.

      The trouble comes today not only because of incompetent teachers, uninvolved parents, and uncivilized children. The real problem is that if only the goal was to make hard-working and productive little economic cogs. But so much of education is given over to what Prager calls “Leftist seminaries” (which he uses to refer to higher education, but which I think applies to lower education as well). Much of the time is frittered away trying to make “global citizens” of this captive audience. That is, they are being indoctrinated into a collectivist mindset.

      And when academic subjects do come to the fore, they are still watered down with socialism/Progressivism. One of the reasons I’ve read, and which sounds right to my ear, that you have so many of these new-fangled (and ineffective) teaching schemes is because underneath it all “equality,” not academic excellence, is the goal. And these teaching schemes (as is the wont of everything socialist) tends to make everyone equally mediocre.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One very famous Texas matron was Governor Jim Hogg’s daughter Ima. (As far as I know, she did NOT have a sister named Yura.) I saw a photograph of her once in a reference work on the state (and the governor has a Texas county named after him).

        I don’t recall comments on my behavior in my report cards, though Ursuline (which I attended for 4th and 5th grades) did grade on several categories of conduct. (My father was usually less pleased with my grades in conduct than in the academic ones.) They had 4 rankings of students on the basis of their grades: 1st level were those with all A’s in conduct and academics, 2nd level all A’s and B’s in both, 3rd level all A’s and B’s in conduct, and 4th level all A’s and B’s academically. I was usually 4th level, and occasionally 2nd.

      • Rosalys says:

        ““Bradley has been making unusual noises in the classroom.”…
        I have no idea what those noises were.”

        As a mother with a son, who volunteered at his school, involving much interaction with all kinds of little boys, I know exactly what those noises were! I can also guarantee that you were not the only little boy making noises! Making noises is just something that little boys do. Little girls talk – a lot!

    • Anniel says:

      Jerry inclined to mischief? I am SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED!

  4. Annie — I spent most of my adult life working with children (i.e. teenagers) in schools and story was always the best way to expose them to the grand realities of life. What a delight to watch eyes light up as we read and talked about whatever novel, or poem, or short story we were reading. One November day I was giving my class a little time to read on their own. We were reading “Grapes of Wrath” — the chapter where the Joad’s are driving across Highway 66 in the heat of the summer, all 13 of them in their rickety old truck. The class was absolutely silent and then the teapot I always kept in the back of the room (another story altogether) began whistling. When we quit reading one girl raised her hand and said, “This guy must be a really good writer.” I smiled — it was, after all, John Steinbeck — and asked why. She answered, “Because I was reading along and when the teapot went off my first thought was, ‘Why would anyone want hot tea in this heat?'” He got her — love it.

    I also wanted to share — though I have done so before, one of my favorite poems — it’s about fairy tales.

    Bean Jack and Seven Princesses Dee Chadwell

    didn’t tell the whole truth;
    the seven princesses may not
    have lived so happily
    after all.

    Snow White, once kissed by her prince,
    fought off a doozey of a hangover,
    and rode off into the black forest with him,
    having no idea
    that he’d change his mind
    and dump her not a furlong
    from the witch’s hut.
    Bean Jack found her
    climbing and crying her way
    up his first stalk,
    and of course,
    rushed to her rescue.

    Cinderella got tired of those
    glass slippers — the blisters were terrible.
    She took to padding
    around the castle barefoot,
    but, alas, not pregnant.
    She didn’t see enough
    of Charming for that.
    But she met a guy in a chat room
    who, having seen things from
    a new, beanstalk-high perspective,
    wrote her beautiful pumpkin poetry
    and gave the mice a bean
    to plant beneath her turret.

    Sleeping Beauty got suspicious
    every time her prince
    suggested she go take a nap.
    Imagine her excitement
    when one afternoon, unable to sleep,
    and staring out the arrow-slit window,
    she watched a bean stalk shoot up
    the tower past her 12th floor room.
    Freedom and adventure called her name,
    and, having caught more Z’s
    than she was ever be likely to need,
    she gathered up her silk skirts, and
    scrambled out
    onto her future.

    Rapunzel started having headaches.

    Jasmine wanted to fly higher than
    those dusty carpets could handle.

    Beauty decided that appearances
    were a lot more telling
    than she had been led to believe.

    The Mermaid found that legs weren’t
    all they were cracked up to be,
    and neither was her prince.

    Then along came Jack,
    who had scruffy hair and a dimple
    on his left cheek,
    and took them for the ride
    of their previously-pampered lives.

    You see,
    Bean Jack had an advantage
    over those prissy princes
    in their velvet knickers.
    Bean Jack had magic beans;
    the GQ guys just had
    looks, clothes, coaches, balls,
    realms, titles, servants, doubloons, moats —
    all the trappings — this is true.

    But have you ever ridden a bean stalk
    as it pierced the clouds and made all
    the neighborhood chateaus look like
    refrigerator magnets?

    And Bean Jack could wrap
    his strong arms around you
    and hold you safe, as the leaf
    beneath your feet breaks the bean barrier
    and the air thins to nothing.

    The princes had made them princesses, but
    only Bean Jack could give them the sky.

    there were seven princesses
    and a giant,
    and no one’s been up there lately,
    so we have no idea which princess, if any, lived

    ever after.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Have you ever seen Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods? (I listened to the soundtrack when I was researching for a biographical article about him for Salem Press’s biographies of noted Jewish-Americans. The other article I did for that volume, incidentally, was about Ayn Rand.)

      • Anniel says:

        Timothy, I love that play. Some of the takes on Fairy Tales are absolute gems. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Oh yes. One of my favorites. I got to act as dance director for Into the Woods when our high school did it, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival did it a couple of years ago. The movie was marvelous.

        Though actually the poem was inspired by my middle granddaughter who used to like me to tell her fairy tales all mixed up together. But every story had to involve Bean Jack — that’s what she called him.

    • Anniel says:

      What a great poem. Truth always makes the best of foundations for thinking.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Wonderful ending to that. Who do we cast as Bean Jack for the movie version?

      • Eddie Redmayne. Definitely. Red hair and freckles and a wide crooked grin.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I had to look that guy up. I’ve probably seem him only in the role of Marius in “Les Miserables.” It seems to me he did a good job…almost made me forget Russell Crowe.

          I wish you knew a good illustrator, because the story of Bean Jack could make a superb children’s book. A sort of updated, quirky take. I’d certainly volunteer as creative director. 🙂

          • Anniel says:

            Brad, What an incredible idea. There must be an artist among the readers who would be interested in collaborating with the author and creative director on such a project. Deanna, please think seriously about it, I can just see Rapunzel’s locks and the sumptuous princess dresses as they climb out windows and up beanstalks.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Well, I was being somewhat facetious, Annie, because I know that her son is an illustrator.

              Ever see the movie, Stardust with Michelle Pfeiffer? It’s a cute, mostly harmless story, and romantic story.

              I envision something like that, crossed with the ethos of “The Princess Bride.” Tongue slightly planted in cheek, but a good story and fairy tale nonetheless. I like the name of “Bean Jack.” Whether you weave him in and out of other fictional fairy tale characters is something to consider, but I’d go light on that. Or give him a somewhat original story. I know there have been modern remakes of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. But I mean something a little higher-brow (as evinced in the verses I read) and some good social commentary.

              Too often this aspect is forgotten and the characters fall flat. But there ought to be an engaging morality tale. I could certainly envision a Princess-Bride-like reading of this tale by grandma to her grandchild (likely a girl) where the girl pipes up with “I want to hear more Bean Jack” and the story is off and running.

              One could also poke fun at the other fairy tales along the way. Sort of a quirky homage. Maybe she can use some of this fertilizer as food for thought. 🙂

              • Anniel says:

                Come to think of it, I do recall now that her son is an illustrator. It’s just a story that, from my point of view, needs to be told. It’s what I would call a delicious tale.

              • You two are funny. I know — I have a little bit of crush on Bean Jack myself. I do think there are few R rated areas in the poem that would have to be dealt with, but you’ve given me food for thought. Thanks — d

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There’s a school of orthodoxy (Left or right, I suppose) that is hostile to the idea of imagination. This school runs all the way up to adulthood, particularly amongst the Left. You see it even in supposed grown-up scientists who run screaming from even the idea the neo-Darwinism isn’t the Rosetta Stone of all knowledge, not wishing in the least to suppose other thoughts.

    I respect the right of parents to try to protect themselves from the cultural sludge that is out there. And they can certainly err on the side of restriction, taking the credo “first do no harm.” But I’ve run into parents who think the Harry Potter series teaches and glorifies satanism. But I think that’s just having one’s butt cheeks clenched a little too tightly. Certainly if the series was teaching bad values, they’d have a point. But I don’t find the mere accouterment of pointed hats, broomsticks, and magic spells to be quite enough to engage in the modern equivalent of book burning.

    Still, with that said, I do understand there is a reflexive, almost moronic, reaction against telling kids “no” regarding books that the Left has very successfully implanted. It’s become very easy for parents to think of themselves as harming their child if they dare say “no.” This attitude is so pervasive in some quarters that to simply want to take care what children may read is deemed dire “censorship.” I’ve run into otherwise intelligent adults, for instance, who take this to an extreme and believe even pornography should be allowed in the elementary school libraries, sort of a libertarianesque “let the person choose” mindset, as if there was no higher value than mere choice. (And in this consumerized culture, there often is not.)

    Surely there must be some sane balance in all this.

    I love this dialogue between Kris Kringle and Suzie in “Miracle on 34th Street”. Suzie’s mother is every bit the “logical” and “rational” sort of Progressive who is a kill-joy and has squeezed much of the fun out of life with her cynicism which she has passed onto her daughter:

    KRIS: Why didn’t you tell him you were a lion or a bear?

    SUZIE: Because I’m not a bear or a lion.

    KRIS: But the other children were only children and they were pretending to be animals.

    SUZIE: That’s what makes the game so silly.

    KRIS: I don’t think so. Sounds like a wonderful game to me. Of course, in order to play it, you need an imagination. Do you know what the imagination is?

    SUZIE: Oh, sure. That’s when you see things, but they’re not really there.

    KRIS: That can be caused by other things, too. No, to me the imagination is a place all by itself… a separate country. You’ve heard of the French or the British nation. Well, this is the Imagine-nation. It’s a wonderful place.

    It is indeed a wonderful place. Or can be.

    • Anniel says:

      Brad, Thanks for the Beauty and the Beast picture. All of a sudden I could see the end of the movie. The dying beast and Belle’s sorrow at his pain turning to the love that can save him. Made my heart swell with that same kind of love for some folks I know. Imagination in its very essence.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A few years ago I finally saw Miracle on 34th Street. Delightful movie. You may also recall the movie’s treatment of psychiatry. Some adults just don’t want to let children be children. I suspect this is especially likely with liberals, given their hostility to innocence.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Looking back, I’d say “Miracle on 34th Street” is a very conservative-friendly movie. It makes fun of psychiatry. It critiques cynicism. Although there is no religion in this, per se, there is a very powerful and positive message about faith.

        Bad morals (such as drinking to excess) are frowned upon. Capitalism (as with the parade and the focus on Macy’s) is lauded (one of the very few movies where businessmen aren’t evil).

        Kindness and generosity are on display (love the scene where the doctor gets the x-ray machine he’s wanted). Certainly the single-parent family of Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is not glorified and the implication is that there is something missing (there is).

        The innocence of childhood (at least via that one scene about the Imagine-nation) is held to. There are no f-bombs in the script. And although this conservative value passes through a lawyer (sheesh), there is a non-materialistic message when the lawyer quits his job in order to do what he really loves, and that is watch out for the little guy (such as Kris Kringle).

        Actually, that last bit would be the general conceit of the liberal. But they don’t live by it. And they certainly don’t put a stop to the excesses. They just pretend that all these scoundrels (such as Hillary and Bill) are the playing out of these self-congratulatory liberal illusions. But I do commend the character of the lawyer for valuing something other than just money and his reputation. Very rare these days.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It’s just a story that, from my point of view, needs to be told. It’s what I would call a delicious tale.

    Annie, I quite agree. You twist one of her arms, I’ll get the other. And, really, this could just as well be a story first (as most usually are) that we could publish here (giving her copyright protection somehow) in just text. The illustrated book could come later. I’ll give her five bucks right now for the movie rights.

    Bottom line, if it’s fun for her to write (twist, twist) it will be fun for us to read (yank yank). I find I can’t quite get into that sparkly mood anymore to write something like that. Too much politics makes Jack a dull bean. But I’d love to read it.

    • Hilarious! I’ll send this on to Pete. Funny funny, and I agree, too much depression in the area of politics today. d

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Deana, count on us to egg you on because it’s far easier to get someone else to do something than to do it oneself. My older brother started to write a fable that involved a frog. It was rather cute. I helped him out with the grammar and such. It went for a few chapters and then, as is his wont, he moved onto something else before he finished it.

        Writing asks a lot of us. I would have a hard time writing a fairy tale story because I haven’t lived much of a fairy tale life. Maybe that’s not a requirement, for surely our imagination can be an escape into a place we long for but have not achieved, or have little hope of ever achieving. Our imagination can be a fine outlet.

        But, still, I think our writing must be rooted in something deep inside. And perhaps you can grow splendid, witty fairy tales and I cannot. Well, you can’t have everything in this life so (twist, twist) we sure hope we can fulfill our Hans Christian Andersen fantasies through you!

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Almost forty years ago, the subject of Grimm’s Fairy Tails came up. The young woman to whom I was speaking (she was a nurse of some sort) volunteered the tidbit of knowledge that psychiatrists had determined that the person who had written the fairy tales was mentally ill/sick in some way.

    I looked at her and advised her that what she had just said was absolute nonsense and such uninformed nonsense was too common amongst America’s intellectuals.

    I then broadened her education by advising her that the Brothers Grimm had not “written” their tales rather they had collected their fairy tales from Central and Eastern European folk stories. So if anyone was sick it would appear to be Central and East European peasants.

    • Anniel says:

      Gasp! No wonder we have such a dearth of imagination and knowledge in our society.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Robert Bloch (most famous as the author of Psycho, of course) once wrote a story (“The Closer of the Way”) in which he is institutionalized and faces a psychiatrist using his work against him. Just because someone is good at writing scary stories (or compiling them, or acting in them — Bloch notes that Boris Karloff was a kindly sort in person) doesn’t mean that the person is a budding serial killer. But then, some of us think the psychiatrist in Miracle on 34th Street defines the profession all too often.

  8. Anniel says:

    Rush reported today that some researcher in the UK has said that parents must stop reading bedtime stories to their children as it gives them an unfair advantage over children whose parents don’t read to them. So consider that as you decide whether or not to love a child enough to read to them. It’s such a hard decision to make, after all, the children should fit in and all be alike, right?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Many, many years ago, I read Kurt Vonnegut’s prescient story of liberalism gone amok, “Harrison Bergeron”. Unfortunately, I had forgotten who wrote it until the Wall Street Journal printed the entire story on their editorial page back around 20 years or so ago, noting that at the time it was written it no doubt seemd like a very fantastic concept. But no longer.

      • Anniel says:

        Timothy, You have mentioned “Harrison Bergeron” before and I’ve always meant to look it up, but of course put it off. This time I followed through and see what you mean. It is no longer a fantastic concept. If I were Queen (!) of the world I’d make it required reading for everyone. Power is such a stern taskmaster no matter how good one starts out.

        Thank you, thank you dear Timothy.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Over forty years ago, I had a discussion in my high school civics class which is related to this subject.

      We were discussing integration in schools and I was very vocal on my position that it was being done in a very stupid and immoral way. I thought it was completely wrong to throw in kids, who had very poor home lives, with kids who came from upper middle class backgrounds. This was a formula for disaster, in my opinion.

      As examples of the simple, but basic, advantages I had over the poor kids from South Dallas, I pointed out that my home had encyclopedias, dictionaries, a library, magazines and newspapers sitting on coffee tables. I had both a mother and a father who lived at home. My teacher couldn’t disagree with my assessment.

      In essence, the fool researcher in the U.K. is confirming my points. Children with in-tact families and parents who pay attention to them have a great advantage over children from broken families with a parent who do not pay much attention to them. Duh!!!

      Make no mistake, this is about class and race. The “researcher” in the U.K. views good parents as an unfair advantage. He is such a radical leveler that he would try to start the world anew “every generation”. Every child would be raised under completely uniform circumstances so every child’s starting point would be “even/fair.” No doubt the researcher would prefer children be raised by the State in order to control this.

      But never discount the back story. I am convinced the same people who try to fool the masses into uniformity do not themselves follow their own sermons. Just like the Communists in the USSR or China, they do everything they can to improve the situation and prospects of their own children. They just hope most of the plebs are fool enough to follow their insane rantings.

      These people are evil and cannot be reasoned with. They must be fought on every level. It would be best if we could destroy them completely, but a certain percentage of society is wicked regardless of circumstances. These people must simply be held under constant view and held down.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One interesting difference between the middle-class and lower-class students in many cities was the latter’s greater propensity for crime (especially violent assaults), no doubt exacerbated by racial tensions. Some friends of mind from Anderson, Indiana told me about the problems there when they started such a program.

  9. Anniel says:

    One other thing I caught on the fly from Rush is that children who are read to regularly actually do better than those who attend good schools. So the Obama daughters may not be as well off as people suppose.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      This is very believable, particularly if the reading begins early in life. I think it is very easy to imagine the wonderful associations of love and safety that might be connected to such reading. This would not be the same as watching movies together. Reading is much more interactive and when a parent reads fairy tales or Mother Goose stories to a child, all sorts of different voices and inflections can be used. It is fun. But I think it mainly comes down to a child sensing that a parent loves him and spending time with him shows it. Thus reading is see as a positive thing, not a chore.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yes, I heard that segment on Rush today. And although reading to children is a good thing unto itself, one can’t help think that there will be a segment of the libtard population who will take this idea and put it into a capsule and try to quantify it, uproot it, and try to make it function outside of its natural habitat. It’s similar to those who dump their kids off and let strangers raise them so that they can climb the greasy pole . . . but are good, progressive parents because they play Mozart to their children in the womb.

      Likely it is having loving, involved parents that is the advantage. Reading stories to children is just a symptom. But expect some parents to buy books-on-tape for their children and then either plug them into a set of headphones while the parents play or play it as background music as the children are sleeping.

      I’ve read to my nephews as much as they will take or want. They quickly get too old for that. But while they are not, there is much more going on than just telling stories.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It has long been my suspicion that the key to education is a combination of good teaching (which seems to be rare in American public education today) and good parenting. This is why affluent families (who usually have the latter) can afford poor teaching better than poor families.

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