Once upon a time . . .
A fairy tale stirs within most of us the vision of childhood. Images of a land filled with princesses, knights, dragons and castles fill our minds. Here is where God had us build the Princess Parable stories.
Tomorrow is “Tell us a Fairy Tale” Day for our nation. Yes, there is such a day! The founders of this day encourage us: “From classic Grimm tales to modern-day stories, this day is all about letting your imagination roam free. Read fairy tales to your kids, or just read them for fun!”
As a Christian, fairy tales hold both cautions and benefits for our children. I am a mom of four who lives 20 minutes from Disneyland. We are annual pass holders and enjoy “The Happiest Place on Earth” many days of the year. So I am not anti-fairy tales, but I have come to grips with how I feel about them. I hope my findings will be helpful for you.
As the author of the Princess Parables, I have wrestled within my own heart and mind about traditional fairy tales for my kids. While most Grimm fairy tales are written for adult audiences, Disney took them and made them into childhood favorites. I made up a list of pros and cons for our family just to keep me on the right track.
The “Good” in fairy tales
I love a good story, and fairy tales capture our imaginations. First of all, most fairy tales are good literature. Written with elegance and enchanting vocabulary, they stretch the minds of young readers. Second, they encourage our children to dream and think beyond their day-to-day life. Encrypted within the words, visions of lands faraway beckon our children to explore and grow. They can face a ferocious beast, climb the sides of a castle or join a ship of pirates from their own home. Next, most fairy tales introduce a hero to our children that they relate to and look up to. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing a little girl dress up in a shimmering gown or a boy in a super hero costume. Those kids see greatness in these heroes and want to be like them. Lastly, some stories offer a setting where good is against evil. We can take our own Biblical examples and interface them with the storylines. Teaching good always wins shines through fairy tales.
The “Bad” in fairy tales
Many parents tell me the problems with traditional fairy tales. I agree we must be cautious when introducing our young ones to many of the stories. I cringe when I hear parents tell me they had set their 3 year old down to watch Sleeping Beauty and their sweet girl has had nightmares ever since. First, fairy tales have an abundance of evil characters who are “too evil” for a child’s young mind. At the ages of 2-7, most children believe these characters are real and do not understand even if we tell them they are not. Second, as a Christian, I struggle with the world of “magic”, but fairy tales are full of magical creatures, spells and witches. So much conversation must be had with our children in this regard. I don’t believe we can just ignore it and our children will be fine. Next, most of the parental examples are questionable in most of the stories. The heroes can encourage us to disobey our parents and follow our hearts. This has not been the way I have raised my kids so I always want to address counterproductive influences. Lastly, I haven’t agreed with the portrayal of women in most fairy tales. While I believe women to be feminine, I don’t believe they just have to wait around for a prince. . I certainly believe some fairy tales encourage relationships much too soon. I also see the attention to physical beauty is accentuated where I want to inspire my children’s character instead.
Why do we love the Princess Parables?
So now you can see why God picked me to write the Princess Parables!!! I love all that fairy tales offer; however, there are just a few bumps that need to be ironed out along the way! God created all of us to be royalty. I know each of us is a daughter or son of the King. I think we took the best from fairy tales – developing imagination, giving them a good story and a hero to emulate – while leaving the “bad” out of our stories. I hope you will enjoy our stories, especially our new story, A Royal Easter Story.
Take some time today, snuggle with your kids and tell them a fairy tale. After all, it is National Tell a Fairy Tale day!
They love to sit in our laps enjoying “happily forever after”! Have fun!
When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!