Friday, May 27, 2011

Value Tales: Then and Now

When I was growing up, every Sunday I would check a Value Tales storybook out of our church library.  The books were about historical figures like Louis Pasteur and Helen Keller.  I loved them.  Each story had a "value" that the person exemplified.  Helen Keller was the value of Determination.  My favorite was actually Elizabeth Fry, who was the Value of Kindness.  When I was becoming a teacher, I found a collection of the books and bought them.  I've held onto them with the hope that my children would someday enjoy them.  And they do.  

A new treasury of these stories has been published.  I was very excited to read it.  I read the first story and then put it down.  I've posted a short review on Amazon about the book.  Basically, the old stories each feature an imaginary friend that encourages the main character to pursue their dreams and care about others.  In the new treasury,A ValueTales Treasury: Stories for Growing Good People  each of their characters is pointed to their "inner voice".  Confucius was among the first five picked to update in this volume.  It concerned me that this book was about pointing children to themselves, rather than to God as having the answers.  Someone commented on my review and said that people don't need religion to be of good character.  The quote below is my response.  I wanted to post this in case anyone else enjoyed the Value Tales books as a child.  The new stories are very different.

"Without a belief in God, then there is no way to delineate what is right and what is wrong. It all becomes relative--each decides what is right in their own eyes. Yes, there is much debate about what "truth" is, but for me and my family, we believe that Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins. I believe in the Bible. I am not arguing that someone cannot have "good character" without a belief in God. But, I am one of those people that believes we are sinners and that we need God. I was a good kid and a perfect straight A student growing up, but I couldn't get rid of the anger and bitterness in my heart on my own. I couldn't live a "good" life on my own. That anger and bitterness seeped into my whole life, though many would deny that it does. When I surrendered to the Lord and believed, my heart was changed. We can try and do good things on our own, but there's a very important piece, or rather peace, that is missing when God isn't a part of the picture. And I want my children to know that."

1 comment:

simonetta said...

You are right. It's true that people can have good character without religion. Your find unbelievers who are wonderful samples of virtue and believers who are visibly struggling with many sins. The reason why we don't want to point our children to themselves is that we as Christians are concerned about much more than just good character. Christ has purchased us with a price and the Spirit is working in us to make us into Christ's image, to God's glory - and the fruit of the Spirit is essentially, substantially, and eschatologically different than any good character trait an unbeliever may produce.