Photo by Leeloo Thefirst
Ruthanne Nopson’s books for children follow the tradition of weaving in lessons with stories. Some lessons, though, are everywhere and foundational.
Ruthanne Nopson writes books for children, imparting valuable lessons and imaginative worlds for them to explore and inhabit. She strongly follows the traditions of early fairy tale writers, greatly taking advantage of its simplistic style and fantastic characters. Inside every page of her books, there is always a lesson for children to learn from.
And in the field of children’s literature, there are foundational lessons that every children’s storybook tries to teach its readers.
Sometimes, it seems like the only constant thing in life is that it is simply quite chaotic. Yet, it is because of this erratic energy that it is critical that the right lessons be taught to children. Life is all about growing and changing. Everyone should be aware of this. For children, though, growing and changing, and life, in general, can be quite terrifying and incomprehensible.
Stories, especially those with foundational lessons, are excellent vehicles for teaching children how to engage and deal with the challenges that life will inevitably throw in their direction.
These are critical lessons that all children should consider and grow from, keeping them to heart throughout their whole lives as they take the steps outside childhood and into adolescence to ultimately adulthood:
- Learning how to be courteous. A good society is built upon good manners. Good manners are built up from birth and are a commitment to courtesy. If everyone had good manners, everyone would be courteous toward each other, and if that were the case, there would be no widespread conflict. Stories that do their best to teach good manners inspire children to be conscientious with their actions and help them practice how to engage with others in the best and kindest manner.
- Learning the golden rule. The golden rule is an old adage. It says, “Do not do unto others, what you don’t want to be done unto you,” but it also says, “Do unto others what you want to be done unto you.” This means that everyone should always be aware of their actions and how they might be felt by others. Stories that teach the golden rule help children become aware that actions have consequences and that what they do is not conducted inside a vacuum.
- Learning how to be honest. Honesty is a tricky lesson to teach. It’s very hard to be open and truthful, especially when you know you’ve done something bad and feel very ashamed of it. Yet, trying to hide what you’ve done only leads to people distrusting you, and no one wants to be the person nobody wants to talk to about anything. Stories about honesty teach children the consequences of lying and being deceitful. Honesty might be hard to do, but it is still a very important thing to do.
- Learning the benefits of restraint. As part of their responsibilities, a parent provides for their children and creates an environment for them where pain, hardship, and negativity are reduced—or at least, tries to—but overreaching with this can lead to children mistaking that life is always positive. It is not. Stories that teach restraint help children acknowledge the harsh realities of life and adjust their mindset. Learning restraint at an early age helps alleviate feelings of disappointment they may face in the future.
- Learning selflessness. Children are oftentimes the center of their parent’s world. A lot of children grow up being pampered by older relatives and given gifts, and assigned higher priority. While this is harmless in the short term, in the long term, it can be very limiting. You see, awareness that the world exists independently of individuals can be world-changing, and everyone needs to learn that. Stories that show selflessness help children ease into the fact that the world does not revolve around them. They are given the opportunity to define themselves in relation to the world instead of defining the world for themselves.
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