Micheal Flaherty, President of Walden Media, pens this month’s article in Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College. Walden Media, founded only several years ago, is dedicated to “recapturing imagination, rekindling curiosity, and demonstrating the rewards of knowledge and virtue.” They have produced films like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and the upcoming Amazing Grace film, which chronicles the efforts of William Wilberforce to abolish the slave trade (and, eventually, slavery itself).
His article speaks of reviving the popularity of reading good literature, and the connection between Walden’s movies, great people, and significant historical events. It contains this classic quote from C.S. Lewis on the value of children reading books that contain some frightening content:
Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can’t bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the…atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.