Friday, June 8, 2012
Day 5: Books and media that inspire virtue
Welcome to the final day of the 5 Days of Virtue Training series! If you didn't catch the earlier posts here they are:
Day 1: Speaking the Language of Virtues
Day 2: How we teach Virtues
Day 3: Training to be a Virtuous Mother
Day 4: Virtue based activities
I was going to focus today's blog post on specific children's books that demonstrate virtue. I had a nice little list ready to post and then I changed my mind.
When I really thought about it, there are virtues to be found in almost every story. The key point that I had mentioned before is that you need to be able to identify them by name. This way when reading a story to your child you can mention specific things like "Did you notice how perseverant Laura was when she surprised Ma by doing the spring cleaning?" This is an excellent way for children to learn the names of virtues as well as examples of what they mean.
There are certain books which are filled with children and adults demonstrating their virtues. One of our favorite series is the Little House series. Our family listens to them on audiobook and everyone including the 3 year old gets into the stories. One of many things I love about the series is that the children are so obedient and excited to please their parents. I really appreciate children's literature where the children speak so nicely to their parents and where parents talk so nicely to each other. Books like that are not always easy to find.
This brings me to my next point.
Just as important as introducing virtue filled literature to your children is, it is equally important to filter out the junk books and media. In our home we do not let our children read any "cool" books where kids think their parents are lame or where they are allowed to talk bad about their family. We are also selective on what movies our children can watch. How can we instill virtues such as "gentleness" when our children are glued to the TV watching people beat each other up? How can we encourage our children to be "content" when product ads are rampant between every segment of television?
Garbage In, Garbage Out.
I challenge mothers as well to be selective in what we choose to view ourselves! My husband always jokes that when I lose my patience I should watch re-runs of The Duggars because every time I get to watch Michelle Duggar in action I tend to mimic her gentle demeanor. It is so funny but watching her interact with her children helps me interact with my own. I come from a family that yelled for everything...this, I know, is not the way I want my own family to act. I use shows like the Duggars and Little House on the Prairie to give me examples of virtuous behavior. Behavior I want, but have not grown up with.
The Bible is a wonderful resource we have to teach our children (and ourselves) about virtues in stories. The Catholic Toolbox has a great list of Bible stories organized by virtues.
Do you have a favorite book for your children that does a great job of teaching virtues? Leave your answer in the comment section, I'd love some new book recommendations!