Plato on Developmental Value in Children’s Stories

Raphael's Plato pointing to the heavens: stories children values
I couldn’t resist posting this quote I came across recently in Plato’s Republic about stories, children, values, etc.:

“Socrates: You know, don’t you, that the beginning of any process is most important, especially for anything young and tender?  It’s at that time that it is most malleable and takes on any pattern one wishes to impress on it.

Adeimantus: Exactly.

Socrates: Then shall we carelessly allow the children to hear any old stories, told by just anyone, and to take beliefs into their souls that are for the most part opposite to the ones we think they should hold when they are grown up?” (The Republic 377a-b)

This connects nicely with some of the things I’ve written about developmental value in previous posts: stories affect the values children adopt—for better or for worse—so the adults in their lives need to make sure the stuff they are reading is helpful and not harmful.  I guess these are old ideas!

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5 thoughts on “Plato on Developmental Value in Children’s Stories

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