What Are Myths?

A myth, in most cases, is a story that has been passed down for generations and is used to explain unkown natural forces. These old stories have been used for thousands of years to help man understand the world around him. Examples of myths are the names of constellations in the night sky, stories of great floods, and tales of mythical beings coming down to our world to pass on great knowledge.

A few popular myths include:

  • Santa Claus
  • Easter Bunny
  • Greek Titans
  • Egyptian Gods
  • Vampires
  • Atlantis

Myths can be found in just about every culture that has existed on Earth. There are many similarities in stories, and not all of these stories are optimistic. It is important to understand what myths are best to be told to your child.

The Importance of Myths

Myths are important for childhood development. This is because they can teach valuable lessons about how the world works while presenting these lessons in fun stories. Children already live with active imaginations. A myth engages that imagination and breeds creativity in the child.

Myths are also healthy for children. According to Dr. Matthew Lormper of Lenox Hill Hospital it is not “bad for kids to believe in the myth…[i]magination is an integral part of growing up and helps the brain to be creative.” The myth of Santa, for example, teaches children about giving to those in need in a positive way. Children who are taught this or similar myths pick up on that empathy and learn to carry that with them in life.

The benefits of myths are twofold. One, the child will enjoy a great story. Sharing in this experience will connect them to generations that have shared the same story. Second, the child will take away valuable lessons from the myths.

Even as a child grows to understand that myths are more often than not untrue, it is good for them to have these stories as tools in developing. When a child is old enough to question the myth, simply ask the child what they think about the myth. If they doubt it you can explain to them that it is a story, but that the meaning behind the story is real, true, and ever-important.

Tell Your Child A Myth

As a parent you can choose to tell your child different myths. These not only teach lessons and excite the imagination of your child but they make excellent stories. Telling a good story to your child brings the two of you closer in a special way. These memories that you share together will last a lifetime while educating your child on the ways of the world as told by the ancients.

There are a few ways that you can tell myths. You can:

  • Read from a book of ancient myths
  • Go online and print out famous myths
  • Create a unique myth suited for your child
  • Pass on the myths you were told as a child

Sources:
http://www.livescience.com/42089-kid-s-belief-in-santa-is-healthy.html
http://www.learning-mind.com/let-children-believe-in-santa-claus-say-psychologists/
http://www.dl.ket.org/latin/mythology/whatisa.htm
http://www.pbs.org/mythsandheroes/myths_what.html

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