I read a book this week to my two youngest children (ages 6 and 9) with illustrations that took my breath away. Even with the limitations of blogs when it comes to sharing art, I wanted to share some of it with you.
I found the illustrations in the book Cupid and Psyche by M. Charlotte Craft and illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft. Here’s an example of one of them, used at the end of the story when Jupiter, father of all (Greek) gods summons Psyche before the entire heavenly assembly because he’s so thrilled Cupid’s been caught in love by his own mischief.
Page after page is filled with these incredible illustrations. My son and daughter both responded with wide-eyed wonder each time I showed them a picture, stopping their play and holding their breaths. That is the response I’m looking for as I seek to educate them in objective beauty.
Some people question why our family spends so much time educating the children with myths, fantasy, and fairy tales. Isn’t this counteractive to our Christian faith? Not at all. In fact, it is BECAUSE of my Christian faith that we spend time, for example, on the Greek gods and the culture of that day.
As the children grow, they will better understand the world Jesus was born into, what came before him and what came after. They will understand the philosophies, cultures, and other leaders in history’s entire context and why Jesus was so radical. But for now, I read them stories from different cultures and philosophies to expose them to the best these cultures had to offer. I do this because I believe that all truth is God’s truth and all beauty is God’s beauty. And it’s true that the Greeks knew how to tell and paint beautiful stories. In my opinion, K. Y. Craft’s illustration demonstrate this beauty well.
This is the season for my two youngest children, especially, where I believe FEEDING their imaginations with story and beauty in the context of history is critical to their mental development. It’s one of the reasons we school them at home, so we have plenty of time for it.
What does this have to do with tea? Nothing. The Ancient Greeks didn’t know the Ancient Chinese were hiding this great secret and drank lots of wine instead. But I share it with you because part of my mission at Tea Party Girl is to help you open your life more and more to beauty. (And now maybe the Christians and the home-schoolers will let me in their carnivals, heheh). Along with tea and other things, Cupid and Psyche helped our family do that this week.
Do you agree or disagree with our philosophy of beauty? Do you see value in a Christian family exposing their children to other cultures’ myths, stories, and philosophies? Why or why not? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments. And if your family does read the stories of the Greek gods, be sure to add this book to your library.