7 ways reading Shakespeare can help your child

Shakespeare needs no introduction. His prolific works are a testament to his greatness and to the literary genius he was. This month is Shakespeare’s birthday and here are 7 things your child can learn from his works:

Patience:

“Go wisely and go slowly. Those who rush, stumble and fall.” – Romeo, Romeo and Juliet.

In this ultra-modern and fast world, patience is a virtue with diminishing value. Everything happens at breakneck speed. Everything we want, everything we aspire comes to us fast. Because of this we are losing the importance of patience.

Shakespeare’s works are from a bygone time when nothing happened too fast. His characters, good or bad showed patience in their actions showing us that no matter how advanced our world gets, patience is a valuable attribute.

Rationalization and logic:

“Strong reasons make strong actions.”- Lewis in King John.

What Shakespeare wants to say is that by rationalising and assessing the situation only can you take the right actions. It is important that the child learns early on the importance of logic and reasoning. This will help them be level headed and capable of making their own decision.

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Importance of being well read:

Shakespeare had never been to Italy yet he had created a world with the right settings and fields, transporting his readers back into medieval Italy. He wasn’t rich enough to travel but then how did he accurately describe Italy in so many of his plays? The answer to this is amusingly simple. He read. A lot. Reading takes you places where you’ve probably never been.

Shakespeare’s plays, based in faraway places could only be possible because of his copious and immensely diligent reading, thus highlighting the fact that reading is very important for the mental development of children.

Making your own destiny:

“It is not in the Stars to hold our Destiny but in ourselves” – Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar.

Shakespeare’s plays may concentrate on star crossed lovers, but even his characters believe that a person carves his own destiny. This means that there is no predestined force which drives our lives. We are in control of our lives and by hard work, determination and rationale, we can achieve whatever we want.

By giving up to ‘fate’ we are simply dusting off the responsibilities of our lives from our shoulders. It is vital that our children learn that what they are and what they want to be is in their hands and that ‘destiny’ and ‘fate’ might not always help. It is better that they work towards their goals instead of depending on unknown forces.

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Own your mistakes:

It is the sign of the weak to make frail excuses for the mistakes that they have done. This what this quote means, “And often times excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.” – from Pembroke in King John.

People should be accountable for their actions and simply pushing the blame doesn’t exempt them from their actions and responsibilities. Kids should learn about owning up to their mistakes early on, because making excuses always worsens the problem instead of fixing it. It teaches children the importance of responsibility and the impact of right and wrong actions.

Be yourself:

This is reflected in one of Shakespeare’s famous quotes, “This above all: To thine own self be true”. This is a valuable thing to teach our children. Because being true to oneself is an important part of personality development.

Only when you accept who you are, will you be comfortable in your own skin. By pretending to be somebody you are wasting your own potential and time because they will be no one else like you, so why should you be anyone else?

responsibilities-of-our-livesTragedy is a part of life:

Life is a circle of birth and death, which makes death an integral part of life. Paradoxical right? Good things happen to good people and bad things also happen to good people. This is a fact that even most adults have difficulty in accepting, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Children need to learn that things always aren’t always good but it doesn’t mean that they’ll never get better.

Sadness and happiness are both sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other. Shakespeare teaches them that no matter what, you cannot give up on life and you are better off when you accept tragedy and move on.
Shakespeare has a lot more to teach us. His great understanding of life and people makes his works and it’s teaching relevant even today.