Books definitely have a huge entertainment value – they are extremely fun to read. However, they also serve a higher purpose – the inculcation of morals. Books are an easy way to teach young children about moral values. Usually, when a parent shouts or punishes the child, the child tends to rebel. But when you present the same argument through an engaging story through relatable characters, it suddenly becomes palatable. There are several reasons for this. Today in this article we will see few reasons because of which we believe moral values can be taught to kids through stories.
Moral Values Can Be Taught To Kids Through Stories:
Stories make use of fantastic characters
The thing about stories is that they make use of characters that children do not see in real life. For example, Aesop’s Fables makes use of a lot of animals who can talk. Similarly, mermaids, fairies, superheroes, etc are common in children’s stories. This element of fantasy that is different from the usual world engages the child. Children are more likely to believe and follow what is unreal than what is real. That is exactly why they might be more scared of a monster in a box rather than an earthquake. These characters make use of children’s vibrant imagination to drive the point home.
There is a definitive plot that keeps the child interested
When morals are explained to children in the form of a long philosophical passage, they obviously lose interest. But when the same moral is presented in the form of a story, there is a plot that attracts the child. This plot, and the characters that drive it make the child long for the victory of the ‘good’ and defeat of the ‘evil’. In the process, they have internalized these notions of good and evil, and have learnt to act accordingly in their own life as well. Thus, morals presented through stories are more effective.
Children tend to remember and recall stories better
The human mind is wired to understand narrative structures. Stories are definitely easier to remember than preachy passages or lectures. Thus, moral stories are infinitely more memorable for children than regular stories. The presence of a narrative structure that is a linear or non-linear thread that ties all events of the story together aids recall. And as the story stays in the child’s mind, so do its morals. And when moral values stay in the child’s mind, they come into awareness more frequently. This rehearsal also affects the child’s thought process and behaviour.
Stories are not preachy
The best thing about stories with morals is that they are exactly that – stories. They have tremendous entertainment value in addition to having a moral value backing them. The child wants to listen to and read these stories because the stories make him or her happy. On the contrary, discussions and lectures are so preachy that the child may not derive anything out of them. The child may not even pay attention to them. But in the case of moral stories, the moral is disguised in the form of a story with interesting characters and tangible plot lines. This distinguishes them from preachy lectures.
Moral values in stories are like vicarious reinforcement
Stories play on the psychology of child via the psychological concept of vicarious reinforcement. Reinforcement is basically any consequence of an action that causes a repetition of the action. It is the opposite of punishment wherein the consequence decreases the behaviour preceding it. In moral stories, the children see people with animals being rewarded and people without morals being punished. This encourages the child to also behave in accordance with the moral principle so as to obtain a specific reward or to avoid an unpleasant consequence. Thus through the process of vicarious reinforcement, internalization of morals takes place.