If someone asked you to make up a fairy tale, you’d be sure to start it off with “Once upon a time…” and wrap it up using the iconic phrase “And they all lived happily ever after.” There may be those among us who argue that this is simply archaic, naive and unrealistic. While fairy tales may be unrealistic, they are also timeless, with lessons to teach us that require them neither to be real or historical, and give us the opportunity to choose to be “happily ever after”.
Albert Einstein, widely hailed as one of the foremost geniuses of our time, once said:
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.
Why would a world-renowned physicist advocate the reading of fairy tales? Could it be because they expand a child’s imagination? Because they expose a child to early reading? Because they give children exposure to an environment filled with adversity and teach the values and virtues necessary to overcome them? C.S. Lewis put it like this:
“Since it is so likely that [children] will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”
Who doesn’t want more intelligent children, with a destiny growing brighter by the day? Children armed with the basic skills to be successful in life and a fierce desire to learn and better themselves? Children who believe that good triumphs over evil? That is what I want for my children, and the children of the world. Children who believe that they are strong, and that if they do what is right, things will work out in the end. Not naive but hopeful. Maybe that’s the secret to living happily ever after. Kissing princes and slaying dragons is overrated.