The Importance of Moral Stories [Part One]

Moral: “concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.”

- Steve Jobs

Many people think morals come from a holy book but this is not the case. Humans are for the most part moral or at least know basic right from wrong even if they do not practice that or will reserve the right to ignore what’s right and wrong. “If humans wish to survive, typically, we need to cooperatively live together. That’s a biological imperative programmed into us, driven by the evolution of a social species, and our basic survival instincts.”https://www.atheist-faq.com/where-does-morality-come-from-if-not-god

Morality is learned, it is learned from others, most notably our parents teach us morals or should, or at least whoever raises us should be the ones who grant us the important lesson of what is right and wrong, children often test these limits, and that is natural. Deception is actually a survival trait, however, it doesn’t mean it is right. We as parents correct these things by showing the path and giving lessons of what is right. These lessons don’t have to be given in fire and brimstone with the whole fear of supernatural powers behind them but can be a simple matter of there are always consequences to our actions.

Moral stories are a great way to convey these lessons without seeming like these naggy forces that children will tune out. Fairytales and folklore was initially written as a way to keep young ones inline and to make sure they stayed on the ‘straight and narrow’ this is why you get such consequences in Red Ridding Hood of trusting a wolf [stranger] leading to death [the eating of Grandmother and Red Ridding Hood] as symbols of minding your parents and taking the path they say. There are other tales in Grimm that follow the same logic. There are often children that stray and find themselves in witches pots or slaves to spin gold for princes or sleeping for a thousand years, these seem silly and fantastical but they are legitimate methods for teaching about trust, honesty, industriousness and other qualities. The same is true of mythology, although it is sometimes more luxurious in nature, and can involve a lot of sensuality aspects as well as subject matter that is definitely in the camp of Rated R, there have been more suitable variants put out for kids that teach the lessons of morality. 

Storytelling has always been a way to influence society, as, the series The Storyteller by Jim Henson so brilliantly orates “When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories…the best place by the fire was kept for…The Storyteller!”. This is very true. Storytellers were prized by many cultures, the ability to tell famous tales of exploration, hope, tragedy, love, of gods, of men, of fairies, are significant the world over. Many of these stories are well preserved by authors that have become beloved to us such as The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Mother Goose, and others, these tales became part of our human landscape, woven time and again through the ages, sometimes changing with minor detail to reflect the style of clothing or the food of the region, the remain as part of our everlasting childhood. Who does not still remember the evil queen’s “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall” or the witch in the wood saying “Nibble, Nibble at my house, who is nibbling like a mouse”, many of us were read these tales and many of us were treated to a follow up of a dose of, “Now then, what should you never do?”. 

Today it may seem quite old fashioned to read our children these dusty old tales that are out of date, but they still hold morals that are true, and I think that we can look at this time of year, especially no farther than to the tales of Scrooge, if one moral tale could sum up the conveyance that greed is certainly a vice, there is not many other tales that come up in my mind as the first that you should read. It is a difficult book in terms of its old English verbiage, but it stands there as a pinnacle of a tale that remains a lesson for all to remember the folly of material things. When we think of giving moral lessons, it is hard not to see people like Dickens not laden each tale with them. He was trying so desperately in his way, to enlighten and change the world around him.

—-TO BE CONTINUED—-

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