Thursday, April 12, 2007

Underestimating children

Why must people continue to deny to their children their cultural heritage!

Below is a comment I left at this article at the Poetry Foundation web site. This kind of thing just makes me mad.

Would we want to return to a time in which infant mortality was high and children were often alone in bed, sick with polio or measles or other diseases that are now mild afflictions or no threat at all? No, of course not.

Though these things don't exist for a majority of American children there are still many things in this world that effect them negatively. Divorce, crime, abuse, war, cancer, accidents, terrorism all effect children in some way. Either directly or indirectly as a source of percieved potential threat.

Candy coating traditional rhymes and stories to protect children's sensibilities only serves to make them cynical as they begin to realize the world their parent's are peddling doesn't match up to the world they see around them. It also keeps them from being able to deal with such things in a safe environment where parent's can answer their questions and calm any fears they may have.

Watering down these poems removes the possibility of parents helping their children deal with the concepts of good and evil and how to deal with it in the real world. What's next, do we update Shakespeare to say that Macduff made Macbeth stand in the corner because our highly sheltered kids turn into teens who can't handle the dramatic turn of events at the end of Macbeth?

Literature should help the reader to make sense of the world around them. These updated poems are merely entertainment, which has it's place, but in the end does no service to children or poetry.

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3 Comments:

Blogger RobK said...

I visited the linked site, started to comment three or four times. But then realized my comments would likely inflame, and yours covered it pretty well.

One thing I learned in school - arguing with an English major was a fruitless endeavor.

4/16/2007 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Carolina Cannonball said...

"But I couldn’t overlook the violent, scary, mean-spirited, or just plain weird aspects of many of the rhymes, so I eventually got out of the habit of reading Mother Goose to my children. When I talked to other parents about my experience with Mother Goose rhymes, I discovered I wasn’t alone. A few enjoyed passing on the traditional rhymes to their children, but a significant number either let their books gather dust on their bookshelves or revised the rhymes so their children would have positive bedtime-reading experiences."

i wonder what he thinks about the violent stories in the bibles. oh the horror. what a stupid man. his son will be a wuss

4/17/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment I left on that site I repeat here.
It is NOT our job to 'give our children a better world'.
It is our job as parents to train our children to live according to God's loving plan in this FALLEN world.
Tishmorgna@yahoo.com

7/06/2007 06:37:00 PM  

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