The life lessons from Hansel and Gretel are actually practical and utilize common sense – not many emotions governed by the usual, fragile heart. This story written by the Grimm Brothers and published in 1812 is truly a classic example of a story written for the young to read but for the adults to reflect on. This pattern holds true to most of the classic tales that I have been rereading these days so I can share them with my children. Here are the life lessons from Hansel and Gretel that you might want to ponder on or laugh at, whichever way you like:
1. Choose Your Second Wife Well
Attention: Male Population! If your children still matter to you – and not just your own happiness – please, choose your second wife well. Honestly, among the life lessons from Hansel and Gretel, this one is my best pick. Do background checks, research, ask questions, and you may want to ask your children too. You don’t want her to end up like that greedy, scheming stepmother, who convinced the father to leave the kids in the woods.
2. Screen Your Future Stepmother REALLY Well
Attention: Children of the man who is planning to get a second wife! Give your father the space to find love again BUT be on the guard. Be your own screening committee in choosing your future stepmother. Make sure she is not out to take whatever amount is in your family’s (Read: your father’s) account. No, I’m not telling you to find faults on the lady. But do your due diligence and tell your father about it.
3. Carry a Map
Because breadcrumbs won't work. I don't mean just a physical map but a mental map of which roads lead where. I have always been poor at directions so I always keep a copy of the subway map or a list of instructions on how to get there. It will save you time and energy. Take it from me.
4. Your Sibling is Your Best Ally
Sibling rivalry? Who didn't experience it? But no matter how many squabbles your sibling and you have gone through, it doesn't erase the fact that you are blood related and well…it’s true: “Blood is thicker than water.” I hated my younger sister for years because she was a spoiled, little brat who got everything she wanted. She got pregnant before I did. Three years later, I experienced my own share of pregnancy and birth pains and she was with me all through it all. We are not the best of friends but we are always here for each other, no matter what.
5. Think Quickly
Gretel prolonged Hansel’s “execution” by giving him a chicken bone that was mistaken by the witch as Hansel’s arm. Gretel was able to buy them time so she could think of ways of how to escape. She did the same when she push the witch to her death.
6. Sometimes, You Have to Play Stupid
To continue #5, sometimes, you just have to play stupid to get things done. That’s how Gretel managed to kill the witch and rescue her brother. She played stupid; she pretended that she didn't know what to do with that oven.
7. Not Everything Sweet is Great
Look what happened to this story’s subjects! They were mesmerized by the gingerbread house and the candies and sweets that surrounded it. They are kids, so what do we expect? But mature people should know better. Not all the glisters is gold. So think twice before you grab that lollipop, dear. It can be the only difference between life and death.
Because it involved killing someone, I have second thoughts of reading this story to my one-year-olds. What do you think? Any thoughts you have in mind about sharing this story to children?