Presidents’ Day greetings!
The nation’s history is rich with elegant stories of our leaders who have demonstrated bravery, creativity, honesty, magnanimity, common sense, strategic thinking, business acumen and genuine concern for the good of all Americans. These men (!) have earned this day on which 21st Century Americans honor their contributions to the public good. Most young Americans have a “day off” – and many of these will be spending some of the day with adults who care mightily about their welfare.
The concerning truth is, on Presidents’ Day 2017, our children are stressed.
As an ardent believer that facts matter and truth will out, I fancied a post about this democracy’s system of checks and balance – or about the First Amendment and the role of the press – or about the logistical fallacy of injecting a “red herring” into otherwise civil discourse…. Though I told myself that truth will out I soon realized that logical arguments, historic concept and diagrams of our tripartite government structure were too logical for young thinkers for whom illogic has been normalized.
The wisdom of Flannery O’Connor called out to me — “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.”
The story for Presidents’ Day 2017 is handed down to us by the world’s most iconic storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen – Though we all know both name and message of The Emperor’s New Clothes, today seems the right day to refresh, then share, the story.
Refresh your memory by listening here before you et out to share the retelling with youngsters – or grownups – in your life: https://archive.org/details/emperorsnewclothes_1311_librivox/emperorsnewclothes_01_andersen_128kb.mp3 (It’s better with book in hand, of course.)
Listening is a first step, it’s talking about the meaning of the story that will prompt lines of reasoning for the young thinker. I enjoyed this comfortable approach to talking about the lessons of the tale of the hapless Emperor: http://www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org/BookModule/TheEmperorsNewClothes
If, like me, you’re compelled to follow the story of the story, there’s always the source of last – sometimes first – resort. Wikipedia’s entry on The Emperor’s New Clothes offers context and insight on a story that has stood the test of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor’s_New_Clothes