You will have to follow me a little: I always hated fairy tales, especially when at the end, they tried to reveal a moral.
In particular, I always remember how unfair was for the ugly duckling being abused by his neighbours, laughing at him, because of his “unusual” aspect. This feeling should turn into relief, when after growing up, to the surprise of all his mates, it becomes a beautiful swan. But to me, it didn’t.
What’s wrong with the story? What is the moral it tries to convey?
We can probably answer that you shouldn’t be rude to somebody else, but that would be incomplete, because the last part of the tale is still missing. So, if we stick to the full story, we could say you have to be nice with others, just because you never know what the other person might become.
What I hate about telling our kids this kind of stories, is that in a quite subtle manner, we are raising them in the utmost hypocrisy, of holding oneself back in order not to hurt the others, but only because of the consequences that our actions may have for ourselves in the future, and not because IT IS WRONG TO HURT OTHERS!
In grown-up world, something similar happens when, for instance, we pick up the phone. Be always nice, be always gentle, for you don’t know who might be on the other side of the line.
What kind of moral is that?
You ought to be always nice, no matter who the other person is, and that should be the end of the story.
Let’s change the books our kids are reading, before they become swans!