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Switch to Forum Live View Fables, myths and parabes
2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 4:53PM #1
Larosser
Posts: 413
Here's a question for the atheists here: clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children, but how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables? Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household? What about stories like Aesop's fables?

If you do employ myths and fables, how and when do you let your kids know that they aren't literal truth?

Disclaimer: I didn't intend my opening sentence to discourage agnostics or theists from contributing to the discussion, but I am particularly interested to hear the thoughts of people who have completely rejected god stories for their children.

Best
La
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 5:07PM #2
Blü
Posts: 23,993

Larosser


clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children


Except where the context makes their fictional status clear.  All our kids when small read and loved versions of the Greek myths, for example, though overall they got a lot more of Richard Scarry &c.


Had there been a book telling bible stories as kickalong myth, we'd probably have included it, but everything I ever saw was so relentlessly tendentious that it was out of the question.



how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables?


Each has to be taken on its merits.  The fault of most parables and Aesop / Lafontaine is being preachy, which is to be avoided.



Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household?


Yes indeed, and the Easter Bunny too.  I'm a great fan of the Dickens / Coca Cola Christmas tradition, and Christmas has always been a major family celebration for us.


Oh, and The Lord of the Rings was there for them to read (one of them was an enthusiast).  Had Harry Potter been around, he'd have been available too.

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 5:07PM #3
steven_guy
Posts: 11,574

Mar 3, 2012 -- 4:53PM, Larosser wrote:

Here's a question for the atheists here: clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children, but how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables? Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household? What about stories like Aesop's fables?

If you do employ myths and fables, how and when do you let your kids know that they aren't literal truth?

Disclaimer: I didn't intend my opening sentence to discourage agnostics or theists from contributing to the discussion, but I am particularly interested to hear the thoughts of people who have completely rejected god stories for their children.

Best
La



I grew up with the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, all the time knowing that it was really mum and dad. I enjoyed it as a game. I also grew up with the A. A. Milne poems and "Christopher Robin" stories. 


I had a childhood virtually free of exposure to religions but I enjoyed reading about the Greek and Roman myths when I got older. We did study Dreamtime myths in Social Studies at school. 


I made the effort to read the Bible when I was about 14 years old. It took me most of a year and it was an experience I have never wanted to repeat.

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 5:09PM #4
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,741

Mar 3, 2012 -- 4:53PM, Larosser wrote:

Here's a question for the atheists here: clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children, but how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables? Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household? What about stories like Aesop's fables?

If you do employ myths and fables, how and when do you let your kids know that they aren't literal truth?

Disclaimer: I didn't intend my opening sentence to discourage agnostics or theists from contributing to the discussion, but I am particularly interested to hear the thoughts of people who have completely rejected god stories for their children.

Best
La



I don't have children, but if I did, I don't think I'd tell them their Christmas presents came from Santa Claus is a good idea. When I found out Santa Claus wasn't real, I was unhappy that I'd been lied to.

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 5:17PM #5
Ken
Posts: 33,860

Mar 3, 2012 -- 5:09PM, newsjunkie wrote:

I don't have children, but I don't think telling children that their Christmas presents come from Santa Claus is a good idea. When I found out Santa Claus wasn't real, I was unhappy that I'd been lied to.



My parents hit upon a compromise. They told me that Santa delivered the presents but they had to pay for them.

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 6:00PM #6
costrel
Posts: 6,216

Mar 3, 2012 -- 4:53PM, Larosser wrote:

Here's a question for the atheists here: clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children, but how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables? Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household? What about stories like Aesop's fables?

If you do employ myths and fables, how and when do you let your kids know that they aren't literal truth?


I read Aesop's Fables as a child, and I don't recall ever thinking they were "literal truth," just as I did not consider any of the other animal stories, including The Wind in the Willows, to be "literal truth." I was also raised on Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy when I was little, but I don't recall being upset when I found out there was no Santa Claus and no Tooth Fairy (which I probably learned when I was six). My grandparents also made jokes about the Easter Bunny visiting their house and hiding the colored eggs, but I remember always knowing that it was my grandparents who actually hid the eggs for me to find. 


Santa Claus did, though, pose an interesting situation for me. I understood that the "fairy-tale" Santa Claus with the flying reindeer wasn't real, but since I was raised Catholic, I also understood that there was a real historical Santa Claus, St. Nicholas of Myra, and that he was technically still "real," as he was part of the Communion of Saints in Heaven with God that one could petition for help. 


I also remember reading Greek mythology and even the Old Testament, but I never considered any of it "literally true," not even the story of Moses and the Exodus. I accepted some of the stories, like Adam and Eve, and Jonah and the sea monster, as thoroughly fictional, though considered other stories, like Moses and the Exodus and the stories of King David, to be oral traditions that were largely legendary and fictional, though probably based on historical incidents. The only part of the Christian Scriptures that I accepted as "literal truth" when I was a Catholic child were the stories of Jesus and his Apostles. In other words, I accepted the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles as historical rather than as legendary or fictional. 

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 7:46PM #7
JCarlin
Posts: 5,995

Mar 3, 2012 -- 4:53PM, Larosser wrote:

Here's a question for the atheists here: clearly, you would not use god stories to teach your children, but how do you feel about other myths, parables and fables? Do you have Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or similar traditions in your household? What about stories like Aesop's fables?
Best
La


As early as I can remember I knew the difference between history, myth and fiction.  I was taught myth as learning and fun, including religious myth.  Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were taught as fun myths.  The letter to Santa was just a fun way to make a wish list before Amazon.  It was clear that I had better tell everybody what was in the letter to Santa.  Religious myths were taught as important to some people, but were myths just like other old tales of wonder and learning.  I was taught that it was impolite to make fun of religious myths. 

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 9:36PM #8
Larosser
Posts: 413

*sigh* I just realized I misspelled "parables". Oh, well. Thanks for the replies, all. 


 


As I kid, I remember being traumatized by the idea of "fiction". I was an early reader, into young adult chapter books in about the second grade. After developing a major crush on a character in one of my books, I came to the realization that he did not exist, and was completely distraught. My dad had to talk me down over that one, consoling me that we could still enjoy and appreciate stories without them being real.  That talk served me well later, I suspect.


 


And then my family totally finnessed the Santa Claus myth, with my older sister suggesting we stay up and spy to see him only for me to discover that Santa was every single member of my family. That worked just fine for me, and I think I just extrapolated from that to other myths and legends.


 


I'm thinking about this now because of talks with my grandson, who is five. For him, the Easter Bunny, Scooby Doo, Spiderman and Jesus are all equally real and equally magic. I'm considering what I'll say to him when the penny starts to drop.


 


La


 


 

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2 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2012 - 10:27PM #9
JCarlin
Posts: 5,995

Mar 3, 2012 -- 9:36PM, Larosser wrote:


*sigh* I just realized I misspelled "parables". Oh, well. Thanks for the replies, all. 


 


As I kid, I remember being traumatized by the idea of "fiction". I was an early reader, into young adult chapter books in about the second grade.


La


I never got as far as parables, however spelled.  But parables are simply a special class of fiction with a message.  I never had a problem with them as they were never sacred or special. 


I never had the rude awakening.  My fifth birthday present was a First Edition Red Pony.  My parents carefully explained to me that it wasn't real, and the characters  and events were not real.  But for several years Jody was a fictional friend, and the Salinas Valley seemed like an alterrnate home.  Fiction is still my main source of "wisdom" and the parables in eg East of Eden are much more relevant because of my childhood introduction to the Salinas Valley and Monterey.  By the way the fictions that are the Gospels are much more useful if one does not have to treat them as history or revealed truth.  

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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2 years ago  ::  Mar 04, 2012 - 8:54AM #10
costrel
Posts: 6,216

Mar 3, 2012 -- 9:36PM, Larosser wrote:

As I kid, I remember being traumatized by the idea of "fiction". I was an early reader, into young adult chapter books in about the second grade. After developing a major crush on a character in one of my books, I came to the realization that he did not exist, and was completely distraught. My dad had to talk me down over that one, consoling me that we could still enjoy and appreciate stories without them being real.  That talk served me well later, I suspect.


I don't recall ever being taumatized by fiction. I just never seemed to care whether a story or a book was fictional or not. I didn't bother me that the cartoons that I watched like Scooby-Doo were fictional cartoons (and yes, I did have a crush on the Scooby-Doo character Daphne when I was in first grade).


I do though remember being surprised in a undergraduate American Novels course to learn that the children's novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the "Little House" books, were probably ghost-written by her daughter Rose, who was an accomplished journalist and novelist (there is still no consensus on how much of the published text of the "Little House" books is Rose's and how much of the published text might go back to her mother Laura's memoirs in manuscript). I had always been told as a child that Laura had written her autobiographical novels during the Great Depression when she was in her mid-60s but had chosen to use the third person perspective rather than the first person perspective. But this traditional account of how Laura wrote the "Little House" books, which is still taught to children and still perpetuated at tourist attractions connected to Laura and the Ingalls family seems to be largely fictional. 

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