Stories for Children

One of the dearest memories of childhood is that of the mother as a story-teller, and in thought the narratives still stand, just as clearly as when she told them; every detail, every thrilling event, remains with us. Because of this indelibility of the impression given, the story told should be true in every sense, and its object be something deeper than mere entertainment for the child. The mother's incentive may be but a pair of bright, expectant eyes, clasped hands, and speechless silence, and these will stimulate her best effort in the art of inventing or repeating a story for the applause of the audience. The easy plan for the story-teller to follow is to turn back to childhood and repeat the stories she is sure to find on memory's shelf. But is this the wise way? Were the stories true? If not, did the discovery of their untruth bring joy? Did they do any good?

A problem that frequently confronts the teacher of an infant class in Sunday school is that connected with the old-time fables which are often poured into the child-thought. Teachers have many times been assured by their children that Santa Claus is God, that God is good, and that Santa Claus is good; and when the teacher lovingly tries to tell them the truth, they want to find mother to prove that there is a Santa Claus, and sometimes to prove that he is God. When children discover the untruth of this tale, they sometimes question the truth of the story of the babe of Bethlehem, and their doubt is logical, for in the story Santa Claus comes to celebrate the birthday of the babe in the manger, and when the falsity of the one is known, the truth of the other is naturally doubted.

Feeding the Five Thousand
June 6, 1914

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