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E&A in 'Christianity Today'... sort of

Narnian Virtues and Character Education

By Fr. Mark Perkins

Stories invite self-reflection—but indirectly. As we enter into the lives of literary characters, we may come to see our own struggles more clearly. Their stories bypass our self-exonerating justifications. Guided by a wise teacher, this can lead to character formation. Narnian Virtues offers similar possibilities. The most compelling lesson plans prompt students to examine their own shortcomings in discussions of episodes in The Chronicles of Narnia...
The Narnia stories endure primarily because they are delightful stories, but in hindsight I see that part of the delight—part of what made the characters so engaging and the adventures so riveting—flows from Lewis’ understanding of human character. The adventures rivet because they are so consequential for the adventurers: not only their physical lives but their moral character and indeed their eternal destinies hang in the balance. The characters engage most profoundly not when good characters battle evil ones, but when good and evil war within the persons themselves.

Read the whole thing here.

There's much more to the subject than I was able to fit into 1700 words, so over the next few weeks I'll be publishing a series titled "Narnian Virtues and Character Education." In it I'll be examining various elements of the curriculum, the books, and character education in more detail. Stay tuned!

Fr. Mark Perkins is Curate at St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida and Executive Editor of Earth & Altar.


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