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Where do we find moral guides for children?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

You could get very deep and ask yourself what it is to be human, and you could ask yourself what is it that humans should do? Okay, that sounds Philosophy 101, but bear with me.

The short answer to that question is simply that we are finding out more, and we don't know yet. In the interim we need a functional worldview that helps us to survive with a degree of contentment as people.

What functional worldview do we give children in the 21st century? Do we expect that in exposure in their education or on the internet they will develop a sound moral compass? These are major issues and questions for parents.

We can look to ancient fables (stories with a functional/moral message) as a time-tested series of guides for children.

Aesop’s fables which are reputed to have origins as far back as ancient Sumer and Akkad (so, some 5000 years ago) present simple clear life guides for all of us and most particularly children. The exposure to these moral guides in reading content for children will benefit them as reference points for what they may or may not do later in their lives.

If we look at a selection of stories, we can see each one of them has a highly functional message for young folk in the 21st century. In The Dog, the Cock and the Fox, we are reminded that if we deceive people, they are likely to deceive us. In Hercules and the Wagoner, we are reminded that trying hard to achieve something is better than complaining.

So, when we ask ourselves how we counterbalance the morally unguided messaging that can be so prevalent in social media; or marketing campaigns which are not societally motivated; or advertising images without moral concerns; we may want to think about the story-based messaging and EQ development we can find in Aesop’s Fables.

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