It’s not unreasonable to say that modern day bag guys or “wolves” (as I will hence forth refer to them as for the rest of this article) are much more fearsome and dangerous than any of the ones written about in original fairy tales. Why? It is my belief that we, as a society, have groomed and fed our “wolves” by teaching our children that the world is a dangerous place that they shouldn’t explore alone. Granted, it’s far too late to give our children free reign now that the damage is already done, but it’s arguable that by teaching our children to fear and be wary of everything and everyone in the world we have made the “wolves” that much more clever and sinister. Wolves still need to eat after all, they’re not just going to take the lack of children wandering down lonely forest paths in stride. And they haven’t. Now the wolves, witches, and warlocks (the bad guys for all intents and purposes) seek us out since we no longer stumble upon them. What does this mean for our children? It means they should be afraid and so should we.
We’ve destroyed the Little Red Riding Hoods, the Hansel and Gretels, and the Goldilocks of the modern world by teaching our kids fear when we should be teaching them caution. If you threw a modern-day kid into one of these fairy tales, they wouldn’t fare well because they wouldn’t know what to do or how to defend themselves—even us adults would be a bit perplexed without the use of our smartphone GPSs. Why is this? Because in the real world, us adults seldom give kids them the chance to stand up for themselves and handle their own problems. Now when our kids get bullied at school, we, as parents, turn it into a full-blown court case. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was in school and got bullied by mean kids I learned to handle it by myself—my parents only stepped in when absolutely necessary. We’ve got to prepare our kids for the world, and we can do that by not constantly running to their aid every time a rude, little jerk at school calls them a mean name. No one wants to see their child unhappy, but if they can’t handle minor problems in third or fourth grade, how can we expect them to handle major problems in the future? Let go a little, parents. Easy up on the reigns! Give them the chance to show you that they can resolve things by themselves and they won’t disappoint you.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: how do you expect my kid to stand up to someone who’s trying to abduct them? The answer is simple: we start teaching kids how to be clever and smart. Instead of letting them watch mind-melting cartoons all day or play on their computers/ipads/smart phones right after school, hand them a book of Grimms Fairy Tales—heck, hand them any book. Then maybe when someone is bullying them they’ll remember the lessons learned in those stories they will be better equipped to avoid trouble and stand up for themselves. They’ll learn perseverance, honor, kindness, truthfulness, and all the wonderful things that those classic stories teach. So when that brutish little wolf pup, or witch-in-training starts pushing around your Little Red, Hansel, or Gretels they won’t be afraid to deal with their adversaries themselves.
Yes, some of the original fairy tales are violent and grim, but you’ve got to understand that reading those stories to your kids is not going to turn them into psychos—let’s give our kids a little more credit than that, people. By reading them these classic, unabridged stories you’ll be preparing your children for the real world—a world that’s not always sunny and happy. These stories have been told to children for centuries and the world has yet to be overrun by violent little Peter Pan wannabes. I think our kids will survive an unabridged, un-sugarcoated short story or two without going on a rampage.
Bottom line, the wolves of the modern-day world are stronger than ever before because we’re killing our heroes and heroines—or at least weakening them significantly. We’re feeding the beast by not reading our kids these classic stories. By over protecting our children we’re making them cowardly, naïve, and wholly unprepared for the world full of wolves outside our triple locked doors.
Stop feeding the wolf. Give the heroes power again. Read your Little Red a fairy tale.
This week’s artwork is by Niconoff! You can view more of his artwork by visiting his Deviantart Page! For new fairy tale, Prince of Prophecy, and Writer’s Corner updates every Wednesday and Saturday, follow this blog!