Sorry to say, this plan fell apart at the start, because so many of the kids did not know the story! I was flabbergasted. I can understand not having an intimate acquaintance with Fenrir the Wolf or the Birbal stories, but Hansel and Gretel? If you are one of those students, grown up and with kids of your own, here it is:
or you may prefer a plot summary
There has been much fascinating (and some wacky) scholarship and analysis about this story over the years – Freudian, Jungian, Marxist, Feminist, Historical, Modernist – you name it. But I suspect most children take it at face value, as I did: two little children learn that because there is not enough food, their parents are going to abandon them, and they must summon the courage and resourcefulness to survive on their own and defeat a cannibal witch. There probably aren’t a whole lot of things more frightening to kids than being abandoned by their own parents. I even suspect that for some kids, the witch is less frightening than the initial betrayal and abandonment. By taking this story to heart, perhaps children have a chance to imagine what that might feel like, and to follow Hansel and Gretel courageously through the forest to a sweet victory.
~ Bruno Bettelheim
I work through the following steps with parents who consult with me about having difficult discussions with
Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:
It is commonly understood that habits are formed or broken in as little as thirty days. Much of the time we are unaware of the habits that define us, instead opting to run on auto-pilot. Today, we are suggesting that you turn off the auto-pilot. The first step to making any kind of change is becoming conscious of how our routines, thinking and reacting to life can dominate us. Routines can provide a great deal of comfort, but they can also box us in, particularly when they are not healthy habits. Before your children’s habits and routines become ingrained, you can set a powerful example of flexibility in thinking, feeling and behaving.
Here’s a list of 5-Minute Courage Workouts by age range to turn off the auto pilot.
- Toddler: On your walk today (or drive) to a daily destination, take a different route than usual. Announce that you’ll be taking a new path and see what he or she notices. Notice, yourself, if it seems to bring up any discomfort for your child, or if instead there’s excitement for exploring new territory.
- Preschooler: Does your child have a security object? Try proposing that a different teddy bear or blankie go through the day with your child. (Book recommendation: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems). If that one is too alarming, try mixing up the bedtime routine. Have your child “read” the bedtime story to you, or have someone else do the tucking in – or have your child tuck you in, if you’re an early-to-bed sleeper.
- Early Elementary: Give the mac and cheese or the corn flakes a break today. At this age kids get habituated to favorite foods, so offer something completely different for a change. It’s not necessary to put peanut sauce or ketchup on everything.
- Upper Elementary or Tween: This is the age of “like” and “you know” and other verbal tics. Ask your tween to give a recitation of the day’s events without resorting to any of these lazy language mannerisms. Get your mental scorepad ready and keep count. Then let them turn the tables on you and have them count how often you do it, yourself. Bet you can’t get away with a perfect score!
Working on these skills may call upon different types of courage. Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child might need to complete this workout. Learning to be conscious of habits – and thus empowered to change them – may one day save your child’s life.
If you are inspired to stop letting your habits dominate you, you might be interested in this very brief TED lecture on the 30-Day Challenge.
If you’re looking for more workouts, here’s our 5-Minute Courage Workout: A Fate Worse Than Death , 5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty, 5-Minute Courage Workout: It’s a Dog Eat Dog World, 5-Minute Courage Workout: Home Alone, 5-Minute Courage Workout: A Fate Worse than Death, 5-Minute Courage Workout: Playing with Fire, 5-Minute Courage Workout: Navigating the Neighborhood, 5-Minute Courage Workout: Say A Little Prayer For Me
“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” ~ Carl Jung