C.S. Lewis on Reading Fiction

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C.S. Lewis on Reading Fiction

We have more picture books on the way next week, and in 2 weeks I am tackling a stack of folktales & fairytales. I love reading fiction, particularly fairytales, because the story is good vs. evil, there are clear foes, and the brave heroes manage to win. Children need to read fiction if only to experience safely in a book the villains they will surely meet face-to-face in one form or another. Can’t wait to share more books with you!

 

Teachers and parents:

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What Every Child (and Adult) Should Learn about Being Brave

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Narnia. We all know it is magic.

I just finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this week and was completely wrapped up in its metaphors and movement.

There is a quest, started by Caspian to find the lost lords who served his father.

There is danger and rescue. There is Aslan.

Every person, big ones and little ones, YOU and ME, knows about adventure and danger BECAUSE WE ARE LIVING, we are human, we are vulnerable, we are learning to be brave.

There are things every person must face, and I am glad to have already met in this book ordinary children who fought sea serpents—and won. When my own troubles come slithering in, I already have the victory envisioned.

CSLewis Brave KnightsSo! This is your list of what I learned about being brave—here I will be brief—if you want the full effect, read the book.

1. Direction is Important 

Bravery in this story has purpose. As a constant motif throughout every chapter, the Dawn Treader sails East. Each island is a step along the way. They know where they are going from the moment they set sail. East, east, east, toward the sun.

2. The end of the world is not the end of the world

I want my students to know this.

I want my future kiddos to know this.

I want to know this.

When Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, Caspian, & the gang reach the first island, they are immediately caught and sold as slaves. In the whole scheme of the book, it is a small piece of the adventure, and (spoiler alert!) they do escape the slavetrader. Of course they do. It is not the worst thing to happen—just the first thing.

When my students bring a problem to me, often their eyes are filled with “this-is-the-end-of-the-world.” No, it’s not. It is the beginning.

CSLewis Courage Dear Heart

3. Dragons Can Be Conquered

Even if the dragon is You.

4. Make It Narnian

For children, and more often for adults, life is murky. If something in your world is hard to understand, imagine instead what it would look like in Narnia.

Ordinary people become kings and queens. Your loved one struggling through addiction becomes a knight in armour, battling off the seven snare-clawed demons circling his head. Make the worry into a metaphor and suddenly it snaps into focus.

So be brave like Lucy! Be changed like Eustace! It is nice to read a children’s novel and feel closer to God and closer to he truest version of myself. You don’t get that very often.

CSLewis The Story