Letting in the Magic

DSC00488“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

― Albert Einstein

This has been our world recently, lots of creative play. So many stories to tell. V has begun to dive into the world of creative play and it is such a joy to see. I love hearing S walk around the house telling stories about the little girl characters I made up, Lupine and Zinnia. She transfers and explores her daily life through stories, releasing her loves and fears into the characters.

Incredible things happen when you let a little magic in. I see that now, where as I didn’t before having children. I was too caught up in hating a certain mega company’s version of all the classic fairy tales. I wanted my girls to have nothing to do with them. So instead when S was ready for stories beyond board books, I bought an illustrated version of The Brothers Grimm. That changed her life entirely. Now when she’s out and the weather changes, she becomes a different weather fairy in an attempt to always wear her bathing suit  (I believe she thinks is a fairy tutu costume).

In this age of super knowledge, it feels like fairy tales are a thing of the past. But they still have an important role to play for children (and their adults). It’s part of their work really. Before having my girls I had forgotten this. I forgotten the beauty of falling into a story and learning from its morals. I had forgotten it’s okay to believe in a bit of magic. I was too caught up in my adult world of hard things. S has taught me this. She pretends to be a fairy and fight off dragons while at the same time telling me that no there are no REAL dragonsShe has shown me that she can dwell in both places like only children can and I am so happy that she has!

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19 Responses to Letting in the Magic

  1. Meryl says:

    So very, very true!

  2. Lori says:

    even with super knowledge and super tech, fairy tales formed the foundation of our family reading life. :) we have a vast collection of vintage fairy tale books and of course the anthology of children’s literature. comparing tales was one of the first experiences the boys had in really digging into story, plot, characters, and etc.

    fairy tales are referenced in so many modern books and movies as well — more comparisons, more conversations. and they weave in history and art. there’s really nothing bad to say about fairy tales! :)

  3. Lisa Coffee says:

    Weather fairies! I do enjoying seeing her running around in that bathing suit so often! LIttle desert fairy! But to think of all the castles in her future! ;) Those little girls will be in fairy tale heaven!!

  4. Daniele says:

    It’s interesting to think that as adults if we read a book we just read it, we don’t usually iterate on that and live the experience using our imagination, which is the point my darling wife makes. But there is an equivalent tool that grownups can use for this: open-world video games.

    You see, if you play a chiefly linear video game (like Mario or Call of Duty) you experience the story and the setting much like a book, maybe a little more, but as an adult you just move on after playing. In an open-world game (like Fallout or The Elder Scrolls) you create your own character and explore the setting in however way you see fit, creating your own stories by interacting with the environment. This takes quite a while, and over time you start to think like your character (did you become an evil thief or a valiant knight? Both work) and get familiar with the places and people that “live” there. Whenever possible, I always play these games as a female character to make sure my brain remembers I’m role-playing.

    If you want to take it even further, there are more open-ended games like Minecraft that don’t have a rich world with history and characters, just a landscape to explore and morph to your liking and some wandering creatures. This is like playing with blocks, as you get to build things and even more so have to use your imagination to make a story. There’s a reason Minecraft is actually becoming mandatory part of the school curriculum in some parts of Europe.

    So not only children can live in a pretend magic land, it’s just that adults need a little more structure.

    • KC says:

      I never really thought about the games this way but it’s true. How else can you pretend to fight dragons or fly when you are a grown up? It certainly isn’t socially acceptable to run around wearing wings or armor!

      • Daniele says:

        “It certainly isn’t socially acceptable to run around wearing wings or armor!” Haven’t you heard of LARPing? It’s still organized, but grown ups can be pretty exponentially sillier than children, but that’s just a few of them, as opposed to nearly every kid.

  5. Fairy tales play a huge role in helping children relate to the world around them. There are some that people “edit” to make them have happy endings and make them “child friendly” when in fact children need the darkness. They need to know that good will triumph, they need to know that there is wickedness, but that the good people will always find a way to overcome them. It is their introduction to humanity. They are hugely important. We read them and see them as violent/harsh/cruel/evil but a child doesn’t have our preconceived notions. The wolf eating the Grandmother and Red Riding hood is not a gruesome act, but rather just what happens. The huntsman rescues them and slays the wolf because the good will overcome the wicked. They just take it in, allow it to process and move on. We are the ones who put the graphic images in it. I love to watch which ones connect with them, which ones are needed at that time to work through whatever stage they are in. They are a window into what is going on in your little ones mind.

    • KC says:

      Thank for you for talking about the darker parts of fairy tales. This is one interesting difference I have found between Europe and the States is that stories for children are often censored in strange ways. Where as in Europe they are not. Take Pinocchio for example. The full version is very dark. Almost too dark for me. But it has so many social commentaries. So many morals to tell.

      • There are quite a few sights out there that offer recommendations for which stories at which ages. Certainly, you do not want something too dark for your little ones just yet, save them until they are ready to hear them (like closer to 6), but some of the not quite so dark ones are ok. Even the real three little pigs, or Henny Penny, or any of those where the wolf gets killed and eaten, the fox eats everyone, those are fine. My 3 year old loves them. They speak it him and what he is needing to hear. My older son like the darker ones right now as he is playing with the whole good and evil thing. http://www.mainlesson.com has stories there that you can print out for free. Look under the Waldorf heading on the side and you can sort by age.

        • KC says:

          S loves Little Red Riding hood and well as Hansel and Gretel. She has a flare for the dramatic and gruesome.

          Thank you for pointing me towards that website!

          • Lisa Coffee says:

            This dialogue was helpful for me, ladies. I tend to want to protect my girl from the harsher elements fo life, even in story, but I totally appreciate your perspective Jennifer. And, it’ll help me find my way to a happy medium.

          • KC says:

            And that’s what I love about blog sharing!! I am a firm believer in a happy medium!

  6. So many wonderful lessons from our children. I would love to see the weather fairy in action :)

    • KC says:

      So far we have a winter fairy who insists that no temperature is too cold to wear her bathing suit outside, then there is the wind fairy and the water fairy, summer fairy, the fruit fairy, even a cactus fairy, who of course never gets poked.

  7. Oh yes…so much magic! Love the weather fairy. When I was little, there was a Tear Fairy and there was a special cup to catch all our tears for her to drink. :)

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