A Happy Ending

Part of my daughter’s bedtime routine is for at least one of us parents to sit down on the floor with her and read a story. She already has quite a library, from Bible stories to Dr. Seuss. Mom recently finished Aesop’s fables, and I am working my way through The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde.

Considering Wilde’s biography, I find his fairy tales extremely interesting. Wilde said that it is the duty of all parents to write fairy tales for their children. His are more in the style of Anderson and Grimm before Disney got ahold of them. The hero does not always win. Sacrifices are not recognized. Love is the ultimate virtue, but not all gain it. People die. Even though it is fantasy, there is a lot of real life in Wilde’s stories. As we finished The Devoted Friend the other night, I found myself wondering if I should continue reading this book to my daughter. The Happy Prince sacrificed himself for the poor, and Jesus himself changed the heart of The Selfish Giant, but in all the stories so far, good people die, and bad or indifferent people do not always change. These are hard lessons. This is real life. I would much rather teach my daughter to try new things as we read Green Eggs & Ham.

I suppose we must have a balance, and that why we keep a large library. That is one reason why we, her parents, read to her, so we can provide commentary. These are the things I think about when I sit on the floor with my daughter, or stand in the pulpit. If we do our best to learn, practice and teach all the lessons, the easy and difficult, the whole counsel of scripture, then we are more likely to live the happen ending.

©2011 Paul Tillman

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