Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday with Words: The Tale of Despereaux

I was sad to skip last week but I just couldn't pull it together between a homeschool book sale and a mission trip to Mexico - something had to give.

I read The Tale of Despereaux too early with my kids.  A few summers ago (5, I think) we read it on vacation.  I loved it but it was WAY over their heads.  We listened to it this weekend to and from our mission trip to Mexico and it fit in so nicely (and unexpectedly) with the idea of being a part of a bigger story.  All of Kate DiCamillo's chapter books are redemptive stories.  As a result they all deal with pain, loss, forgiveness, waiting and other tough topics.  They aren't explicitly Christian but the themes are very familiar to our faith.  Her books are way deeper than just Mercy Watson!

Despereaux is all about the power of a good, ennobling story.  Unfortunately this cannot be captured well in a children's movie. Skip the movie (hubby says it is really bad) and love the book.

When we finished the book I asked my kids if they were listening to stories of light or of darkness? Could they tell the difference?  Were their lives going to be stories informed by the light and showing it forth or were they going to live in darkness?  I love this imagery because it is so basic, but true. Where one little candle flickers the darkness has to flee.  Despereaux believes the story of the knight and the princess and is called to do the impossible - and so he does.

Really, this is what the phrase "preaching the Gospel to yourself" is all about.  It is about remembering the one, true, big, incredible story in the midst of the dailiness, pain and uncertainty of everything else.  The story that you tell yourself and others will make a huge difference.  Kern always talks about the 66 chapters of story and then the law.  That's how God created us - why else would Jesus speak in stories or parables?   We need to keep telling ourselves and our kids God's story so that it will be their foundation and rock.  So that they can carry that story candle into dark places and proclaim truth and love.

So this summer I encourage you to find stories of light and love to pass on to your children.  Whether they are personal or old favorites or biographies or whatever.  What stories bring light and joy to your world?  What stories help shape who you are?  Your family?  Use stories to shine a light into darkness.

See what others are reading at Ladydusk.

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