We all want to be saved. It is human nature to desire Someone bigger and stronger to rescue us when we are in danger; when we are face-to-face with fear. We love stories where the weak are saved by the strong.
Superhero movie revenues prove this point. Marvel movies have made over $22 Billion in the last decade or more. We crave heroism and have spent $22 billion on the Marvel brand as a result.
Why? Because these stories can inspire us to do better, to be better, to not back down when danger comes.
Fairy tales do the same thing but in a different and better way.
Fairy tales often involve fun and humor, and shocking twists and stark images like the movies. But where they differ lies in how they allow the audience to insert themselves into the story. We can relate to the three little pigs and little red riding hood more than we can to Superman or Thor.
We insert ourselves into the stories to see how to face danger, pain, loss, and fear with the characters. Your children can do the same things.
Fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and more are short, to the point, and very easy to find. A Norwegian fairy tale that has stuck with me since I was five or six is the “The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff.” It is a great tool and very pertinent in teaching children how to handle fear right now, today, in 2020, in this great lockdown.
In summary, two smaller Billy Goat Gruffs try to use a bridge they always use. This time, though, there is a dangerous, mean, evil Troll waiting for them. He threatens to eat them, and each one responds out of fear, throwing their brother under the bus to get away safe. But the third Billy Goat Gruff comes along, and he is bigger, stronger, and not one to back down. He challenges the Troll, the source of fear and danger, defeats him, and joins his brothers in the field to eat dinner.
There are a few lessons here, but for our sake, I’ll keep it to a straightforward takeaway: though we do dumb things out of fear, and it often causes others pain, there is Someone bigger than us who can save us when things are too great for us to handle. If we turn to Him and trust Him, like the older Billy Goat Gruff, God will save us, no matter what.