5 must-read classic stories that teach kids to be a better person in life
It’s important for parents to educate their children with reason so their kids grow up to be proper human beings with a moral compass to guide them in life and be of benefit to both themselves, their family, their country, and whomever they meet on their journey in life.
Here we’ve compiled a simple list of five fantastic children’s stories, and each has an indispensable moral that kids are likely to enjoy learning.
1. The Adventures of Pinocchio
Remember this one? Of course you do; everyone does! The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Italian author Carlo Collodi, depicts a wooden marionette that has an unfortunate tendency to lie, causing his nose to grow.
This popular children’s novel was made into a Disney film, and depicts the life of Geppetto’s creation, which dreams of becoming a real boy one day.
The moral of the story—to be a person of moral fibre—is portrayed through Pinocchio’s eventual dedication to be honest, kind, hardworking, and to study diligently in order to be transformed into a real boy.
2. The Ant and Grasshopper
This is a fable credited to Aesop, an ancient Greek storyteller. It highlights the contrast between a colony of hardworking ants that collect stores of food in preparation for the harsh winter to come and a singing grasshopper that is ever-so complacent with itself, loves having fun, and is unconcerned that food will be hard to come by when the weather turns bitter.
“Why not come and sing with me,” the grasshopper teases the ants, “instead of working so hard?”
“We are helping to store food for the winter,” responds one ant, “you should do the same.”
“Winter is far away and it is a glorious day to play,” sings the playful grasshopper.
When winter finally arrives, the grasshopper isn’t so jolly anymore. As it made no preparations for winter, and being that there’s no available food due to the thick layer of snow covering the field, the starving grasshopper ends up begging the ants for food.
This fable helps kids learn the importance of working hard to be responsible to oneself and one’s family, as well as the necessity to plan for the future, in addition to not idling away time in self-indulgence.
3. The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, and tells the life of a teenage mermaid who falls in love with a human prince. Once she learns that humans’ lifespan is much shorter than mermaids, who can live for around 300 years, and that humans have a soul that can live on forever and can ascend into a heavenly paradise if they meet the virtuous requirements, she makes the wish to become a human.
She seeks out a witch, who grants the mermaid her wish … but not without strings attached.
In a journey to obtain the prince’s hand, love, and eternal life, the mermaid endures much hardship.
Although she ends up suffering a broken heart when the prince falls in love with another girl, the mermaid meets with an optimistic ending due to her selflessness and many sacrifices in her pursuit for immortality.
The story delves a little deeper than your average fable, and teaches kids to treasure morality, cherish being human, and maintain virtue for a bright future.
4. The Hare and the Tortoise
What a classic! Another of Aesop’s fables, a cocky hare that keeps mocking a slow-moving tortoise is challenged by the tortoise to a race. Taking it as the greatest joke ever, the hare accepts the challenge but suffers an embarrassing loss after taking a nap midway, only to find the tortoise, which kept moving slowly and steadily, never to pause for a moment’s rest, makes it past the finish line as the victor.
The moral of the story is self-evident, warning children against being conceited, and that slow, steady steps “will win the race.”
5. The Boy Who Cried Wolf
You’ve most likely heard someone ask, “ever heard of the story about The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” In yet another of Aesop’s fables, the English idiom “to cry wolf” is fully exemplified in this story.
A shepherd boy who loves to goof around derives much joy in pranking the local villagers and keeps yelling out that his sheep are being eaten by a wolf. Each time, the villagers rush to his aid, only to be disappointed to find out he lied again, and again, and again.
The villagers soon become numb after the repeated pranks, and when a wolf really does come, the boy cries wolf once more—only to be met with a stony silence. In some adaptions of the story, the wolf ends up eating the boy too, drilling in the hard-learned lesson evermore so.
Again, this is another short story emphasizing the importance of being a truthful human being.
There are many more great children’s stories where that came from. Do you have a favorite from the list above, or is there another story that you highly recommend parents read to their children? Do tell us your favorite story in the comments section.