By Elita Fung (Outreach Worker in St. James Town)
“Fairy tales…do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” – G.K. Chesterton
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman (quoting Chesterton)
The staff have just spent three months working out the curriculum for this summer. Scripture is filled with history, poetry, proverbs, laws, and letters. And yet, at the end of the day, it is ultimately a narrative that moves us through God’s perspective and God’s working in this world.
Recently, some of our kids told us their nightmares. They were frightening, even for me as an adult, filled with dead bodies, ghosts, and even a fiery hell. All this without even the work of a scary movie the night before.
As I look at the narratives that fill our digital airwaves and beyond, I can’t help but see the intuitive recognition of the very real existence of evil and the innate hunger for the defeat of evil. And though fairy tales are important and crucial even, I am struck by the fact that all these narratives nevertheless point to the desperate longing for the hope that is found in the Biblical narrative.
No one doubts that there are dragons, monsters, and bogeymen in this world – insurmountable evil that works against us every day. What we need is the promised child, the prince, the knight, the prophet, YHWH Himself, to come in, riding on His steed to vanquish the enemy. That, I think, is ultimately why we spend so much time on our curriculum. We don’t want a psychological ten step program for our kids to work out their problems on their own. We don’t want to brush aside their nightmares by telling them they’re not real. We want to introduce them to the true hero of the story, the One who will enter into their lives, and defeat evil once and for all.