Fairy Tales, Rated R

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 Posted by Katie

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You would never dream (I hope) of letting young children watch an R-rated movie. You might consider letting them watch a PG movie if you had a chance to screen it first. Most of us, I image would let our kids watch a G-rated movie without a second thought. That having been said, allow me to propose a question to you:

If it were up to you, what would “Jack and the Beanstalk” be rated?

How about “Hansel and Gretel”?

Or “Rumpelstiltskin”?

If you answered “G-rated”, then you either don’t have small children or you haven’t read the authentic versions of these stories in a while. Frankly, I had forgotten about the dark sides of these stories until I became a parent. Let me tell you, there is nothing like reading a story you expected to be “safe” only to find yourself needing to edit as you go.  If you don’t edit, your little ones will be drifting off to sleep with images of Jack’s giant wanting to “feast on his blood” and “crush his bones”. If you do not edit, you will get questions about why Hansel and Gretel’s father walked them out into the forest to leave them for dead because he could no longer afford to feed them…or the subsequent witch who fed Hansel through a cage to fatten him up so that she could eat him. If you do not edit, you will have a son or daughter worrying and wondering if it is possible to have a child taken from his mother as Rumplestiltskin threatened to do.

I had forgotten about the dark sides of these “children’s” stories. So, I edit them. I filter them. I water them down so that they can be absorbed by the sweet little ears waiting to hear a good story each night.
I find I respond the same way with stories about real life.

I edit. I filter. I water down reality so that it may be absorbed by the inquisitive four and two-year-olds who have been placed in my care.

While I am hesitant to let my kids know the dark tales of the realities we often live, I have been recently convicted that it may not hurt for them to know some things. For if my kids never know that darkness can exist, how will they learn the significance of the Light?  

I think of kids throughout history who have grown up in harder times than these and I wonder, “What did their parents teach them about Jesus?” I can’t say that I know for sure, but I bet their lessons of faith went a little deeper than “be kind to your friends at school.” I bet their lessons talked about a Savior, in a real sense, who would right all of the world’s ills. I bet their lessons talked about a hope and a future that God offers us when we invest a hope and a future in Him. Most of all, I bet their lessons, based in a reality not shielded from them, led to a deep and abiding faith in a promise that someday there would be a new heaven and a new earth…a new happily ever after.

May God equip each of us with the courage to share the authentic version of His story.  May He also guide our words, in their appropriate timing and delivery, that may we likewise raise up a generation of authentic believers who know that Jesus is more than a feel-good, make-believe bedtime story.

The End.

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