Question: It is common to humanize animal characters for the purpose of education. Is this a correct approach?
Answer: I have never seen an elephant converse with a fox, a dog singing, or a mouse pulling crafty tricks on a hapless cat. I don’t see any educational value in these models. As compared to a realistic worldview, there is a great lie in them. I don’t see in them examples that show a little person how to behave in life.
Instead, I see a distorted picture of the world. By imposing imaginary stories on a child, we maim his reason and warp his logic. We don’t even realize that these illusions will remain with him for the rest of his life, forming his attitude toward the world.
Obviously, we need to familiarize the children with the still, vegetative, and animate worlds, but only in their true form. We ought to treat a small child like a small person, and not a visitor from some imagined reality, where animals speak and exist in fairytale relationships with one another. This approach is a consequence of our sanctimonious world and all kinds of absurdities that humanity has concocted over thousands of years. The wisdom of Kabbalah has a very different outlook on things.
Is this really the only way to raise our kids? In the examples and explanations we offer, can we not avoid animals, the majority of which children have never even seen? Otherwise we’re imposing “virtual” characters on the child, which is tantamount to telling him about ghosts and spirits.
My grandson has a conception of a cell phone, an airplane, a car, and dogs and cats in the streets. So why should I feed him fables? “You know, somewhere outside the city there is a forest, and in that forest there are animals who talk to each other….” Up until now he has lived in the real world, and here I introduce a lie into it. What for? What is the educational value here? Simply, I slipped the child a make-believe reality, which he perceives as fact. Imbued with these fables, he will retain this distorted perception for the rest of his life. No wonder we’ve got people jumping into bear enclosures, thinking the animals are so soft and cuddly.
A child must be educated not with fables, but with parables and games, where the make-believe is not presented as reality. Stop feeding kids fables, and keep them on a truth-only diet. Any lie is imprinted in their subconscious, incorporated into their inner program, and distorts their outlook on life. Only the truth should be expanded more and more as the child develops. The truth will redefine the child’s approach to life, and he will grow correctly.
From the Talk on Education 9/29/10