Learning from Literature

As a Thomas Jefferson Education proponent, I fully endorse the use of classic literature (and other media) to teach valuable life lessons and educate our children.

I was really encouraged to find this article that supports this use of literature to teach one particular lesson of triumph over hard and difficult times.

I'm quoting directly from http://www.ldsliving.com/magazine/article/2218/FHE:-Change

"Let me share with you three approaches to handling growth and change and our tomorrows. To illustrate the first, do you remember the famous book Gone with the Wind? Scarlett O'Hara, in times of great stress, uses a phrase that is characteristic of her approach to facing difficult challenges. "I won't think about that now," she says. "I'll think of it all tomorrow. . . . After all, tomorrow is another day."


We see another approach in the popular play Annie. Annie, an orphan child, is mistreated, abandoned, and neglected, with no real evidence of having a brighter future. But in Annie's mind she has hope; she has faith. As she sings those famous words, "The sun will come out tomorrow," she lifts and leads herself and others out of the darkness of their despair into the sunshine of hope. Annie doesn't know what tomorrow will bring, but there is no question of her unwavering optimism.


The third approach is found in the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown
. We see Molly at the beginning as a backwoods girl with few opportunities, no education, and no refinement. While wrestling with her adopted brothers she is pinned down, and one of them yells, "You're down, Molly! You're down!" Molly responds, "I ain't down! And even if I was, you'd sure never hear it from me 'cause I hate the word down, but I love the word up 'cause that means hope. And that's what I got. Hope for someplace prettier and someplace cleaner. And if I gotta eat catfish heads all my life, can't I eat them off a plate and in a red silk dress?"


Scarlett O'Hara tells us something about waiting for another day if we cannot handle any more today, and that is an important lesson. We can live with the hope and maybe a promise that tomorrow will be better, since it may seem at times that it can't possibly get any worse. Annie has great faith, knowing that as bad as things are, the sun will shine tomorrow. And that's only a day away. But Molly Brown won't wait until tomorrow. She believes that the promise of tomorrow rests in her hands today. She refuses to be down for even a dayĆ¢€”and even if she were down, no one would know it. Molly realizes that if happiness is dependent on tomorrow, then when tomorrow comes she can still be living in expectation of a better day. She plans for tomorrow by taking care of today."


(Ardeth Greene Kapp, My Neighbor, My Sister, My Friend, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990].)

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