With the flurry of back-to-school schedules and back to school shopping for supplies and clothes, there comes also the anvil hanging over a parent’s head of homework, science projects, book reports, and volunteering in the classroom. Unless you are a home school mom, then if you took time off in the summer, there is the final pouring over lesson plans, arranging materials, obtaining books and supplies, and all the worries that teachers have. Moms are busy.

I know that considering “Is what my child reading worth his time?” is just one more thing to worry about. I know there are days that if you serve three meals and read a bedtime story, that is a triumph. And yet, moms all agree that what goes into our children’s minds is more important than whether their socks match or whether they have rocks in their pockets or not.

This is the first of a series that will hopefully help simplify the worry of what to encourage your child to read. By stretching our children toward excellence we often eliminate misleading, and potentially dangerous messages. By teaching them what to choose, you also help them take responsibility for what they learn.

Consider this as a guide: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things” (Philippians 4:8).

True literature may be fiction, but it encompasses true principles, and true consequences for choices and actions. For example, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmond’s betrayal of his brothers and sisters did not lead to the reward he desired, rather he was miserable. In Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, Hans who is hard-working, often sacrifices for others, and is honest. He receives many blessings in his life. The good desires of his heart are realized. In Aladdin, Aladdin is a thief, but ends up with the princess. Is this a true story?

Next week I’ll continue with the other virtues in this scripture. Most of my examples come from classic children’s literature. What are some true or not true stories offered our children today?

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