jueves, 1 de febrero de 2018

Myths transmit wisdom of the ages

Myths transmit wisdom of the ages

Myths transmit wisdom of the ages

Myths transmit wisdom of the ages

Nathaniel Hawthorne brought ancient Greek stories to life for children.
David Breen | Jan 29 2018 | comment 
Tanglewood Talesby Nathaniel Hawthorne
written for ages 9-12 | highly recommended
published in 2017 (1853) | Dover Publications | 224 pages

Greek myths have always fascinated children. The ageless ability to transmit various fragments of collected wisdom through the soft-power of the fable is indisputable. As Nathaniel Hawthorne alludes to in A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, the prequel to these stories, and the book from whence the name Tanglewood derives, children often continue to mine ever-deeper aspects of reality present in some books when they are read to them over and over by someone they trust. The same can be said for adults when they meditate again and again on the demanding advice contained in a book or a piece of writing by someone they love and respect.
What Hawthorne uniquely adds to the millennia of retelling in his almost-matchless, simple and enchanting prose, is an ability to subtly draw-out for the reader the far-reaching consequences of being able to acquire virtue at an early age.
In the first tale recounted -the well-known adventure of Theseus slaying the half-man, half-bull Minotaur- we find in this hideous creature not only an evil to be conquered, but also the sad reminder of the isolation and dehumanisation that awaits those who fail to find true friends.
In the following myths we witness: the subtle connection between aggression (masked as patriotism) and excessive self-love; the joy that is the fruit of humble perseverance; the ugliness of gluttony; and the folly of exposing even well-brought-up children to unnecessary temptation.
The book closes with a wonderful retelling of Jason and his Argonaut’s search for the Golden Fleece. In the indispensable support of a ‘good enchantress,’ the author skilfully ties together the need for the young to confront and overcome concrete and challenging goals with the indispensable help of trusted advisors.
This is a superb read-aloud for preschool children.
David Breen is a primary school teacher working in New Zealand.


January 31, 2018

Of all the things that, a decade ago, one might have predicted would become a political issue, who would have thought of the wedding cake? But it has, and no less an institution than the United States Supreme Court is deliberating about one right now. That particular cake, like a few others in recent years, was one that did not get made for a same-sex couple who requested it.

If you want to refresh your memory about what exactly is the issue you can revisit this article we published in December. Our lead article today, however, is not about the controversy as such, but why both sides see the wedding cake as so significant. In a long but fascinating essay that we have republished from The Family In America journal, sociologist D. Paul Sullins explains the symbolism and history of this ceremonial confection in its three-tiered, white-iced, topped by a figure of the bride and groom form. Apparently this owes a lot to Queen Victoria, whose wedding banquet

“presented the British populace with a cake of outsized dimensions that definitively crossed the line from food to spectacle. The cake’s bottom later, more than 10 feet in circumference and weighing over 30 pounds, served primarily as the base for a pedestal upon which stood three distinct tiers, topped by an elaborately carved scenario of Britannia blessing the Queen and her bridegroom, Prince Albert.”
There are some pictures with Dr Sullins article, which I highly recommend as background to one of the most unpredictable court cases of all time.

Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
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The job of 'mother' needs to be more highly esteemed.
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MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation

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