I’m old-fashioned. Always have been. I enjoy “old music, old books, old times, old friends.” My life exhibits this love of the old paths. I was a music major because I loved classical music. We live a farming life. I milk cows, butcher chickens, make my own butter. I married my oldest and best friend. And the books? Well…
I’m not one to say there is no place for new things. I do use a machine to milk my cows and make my butter. And there are a few good “new” books out there. By and large, however, the truths we treasure have fallen in the streets.
This reality hit me hard on a recent trip to Toys R Us. My sons were shopping for a birthday gift for a friend. While they mulled over the best building set, I perused the “early reader” section. Of course, there were the usual popular cartoon characters featured, but one book caught my attention. It was entitled Judy Moody and the Poop Picnic. I picked it up and was sickened at what was being marketed to six year olds! I bought the book and have since used it in my living books presentations of what is NOT an example!
One of my treasured volumes is called Five Years of Children’s Books. In it is listed the best of children’s literature written between 1930-1935. Below was the standard for children’s books during “the golden age of children’s literature.”
When you are writing for children, do not assume a style for the occasion. Think your best and write your best. Let the whole thing live; let there be plenty of breadth and power.
As for the values which we claim are strong and clear in children’s books, the first of these is a sense of God. “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” A seeking after truth and beauty; a sense of wonder and reverence; the balance and proportion which humor gives: these are values in terms of the spirit which shape the design and form for living.
Charlotte Mason warned against filling a child’s mind with twaddle. I believe that Miss Mason would be distressed at the poison being presented to children today. It is my passion and prayer that, through the living Word of God and the books on my shelves, our children learn to love and seek after truth, beauty, wonder, and reverence…the old ways.
Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. “
But they said, “We will not walk in it.” Jer. 6:16