So, I’m reading Facebook, and run across this ad for a t-shirt. The shirt has a picture of a dragon and a saying that was adapted from G. K. Chesterfield. The shirt says “Tell fairytales to your child to teach that dragons can be conquered.” I got curious about the original quote, so I looked it up. According to several sites, the original is “Fairytales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.” I started thinking about this. How we treat our children can either give them confidence to go through the most difficult situations, or give them timidity and passivity. Do we teach our children to slay dragons? How can we teach them that they can pick themselves up, time and again, and enter the fray? Well, one way is, when they are very very small, letting them choose. Now, when they are little, we want to make sure their choices are all acceptable to us. But let them learn how to make decisions. “Do you want the red shirt or the white shirt to wear with your black pants? No, I’m sorry, you may not wear your pajama top to school. But you choose, red or white shirt?” Yes, this takes more time than just pulling clothes out and saying “put this on.” But such simple things as that can help imbue our children with confidence, not passivity. And later on as adults, when they are faced with decisions far more important than what color of shirt, they will have a background of weighing, considering, decision making, to draw upon. Our lives, both as children and as adults, are full of dragons. Letting a child learn how to make decisions – and suffering consequences for a bad decision (I reminded you that it was spirit day at school, but you chose to wear your blue shirt, and not the school shirt – no I am not bringing your shirt to you.) will help them learn how to slay dragons (I’ve lost my job. What are my best options?) and how to take important risks (Should I change jobs? Move to another state? Ask her to marry me?” Oh, and reading those fairy tales when they are young doesn’t hurt.