Sheltering and books

LIT’ERATURE, n. [L. literatura.] Learning; acquaintance with letters or books. Literature comprehends a knowledge of the ancient languages, denominated classical, history, grammar, rhetoric, logic, geography, &c. as well as of the sciences. A knowledge of the world and good breeding give luster to literature.

There seem to be two camps concerning literature:  those who think you should shelter your children and those who think that difficult books are a tool for discussion. Of course older children can handle things that younger children cannot. And difficult discussions on slavery, racial slurs, abuse, etc. do need to happen. I think for me it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”

I have heard both sides of the argument and they both have merit.  I think I come down on the side of caution. My children count on me to keep them safe. The mind is the most. I do not ever want to allow them to put something there that they are not ready for. I believe literature (true literature) is a terrific way to introduce difficult topics in their natural settings. Books can open casual doors for conversations that might seem contrived otherwise. Then Biblical Principles can be introduced/applied where they fit.

And then there are some books that I do not believe qualify as literature, are salacious or are otherwise twaddle. Those don’t make the cut. But important works are worth reading and discussing together. Because we are “living” with the books and their characters, I want to make sure we are “acquainting” ourselves for a specific reason and not just to have something to read or because it was recommended by someone else.

Where do you fall in the book sheltering debate?

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2 Responses to Sheltering and books

  1. Mandi says:

    I am with you – I err on the side of caution. I have recently heard of a good way to categorize books – four criteria laid
    out in ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ by Oliver DeMille. In summary,
    the categories are (loosely quoted from the book):
    Bent – portray evil as good, and good as evil. Ex. Harry Potter, Twilight.
    Broken – portray accurately evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins. Something is broken, not right. They are not uplifting but can be transformational in a positive
    way. Ex: Lord of the Flies, 1984.
    Whole – good is good and good wins.
    Healing – can be either whole or broken but the reader is significantly
    improved by reading it.

    I don’t choose for us to read the ‘bent’ books but do find it useful to have a brief knowledge of them to be culturally literate. We can know about them and discuss them without reading them. The ‘broken’ and ‘healing’ ones are maybe best left until the kids are older depending on the content, though I imagine there may be some good children’s books that fit in these categories. But a healthy diet of ‘whole’ books should be a part of everybody’s reading our whole lives through. ( :
    .-= Mandi´s last blog ..Are you kidding me =-.

  2. Anna-Marie says:

    I hadn’t read that. I like it!

    Whole books and true literature are definitely the way to go!

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