Posted by: Peadar Ban | February 17, 2012

The Content of Memory, The Worth of Culture for Children

In a recent radio call-in show on NPR I heard a retired teacher say, quite seriously, that teachers are not teaching ‘content’ to students.  Rather they are teaching them how to think. “Who remembers something they read forty years after reading it?  How will that help them solve a problem when they are adults?” She asked, rhetorically.  Indeed.  Really?

I am just past seventy and remember many of those books, many of their stories.  I remember all of the Tarzan books I read as a youngster, and the John Carter of mars series, too.  (I’ll bet that the new film out will not come near to what I built in my mind; except for the deafening noise that can be produced these days in theaters.)  I remember reading Homer’s Odyssey at ten or eleven, and not knowing how to pronounce Penelope (I thought it was “penny-lope”).

I listen to the children of another generation speaking, my own children and their friends, and they remember the same things.  They remember the classical books, vintage texts, valuable lessons, timeless tales of fairy and fantasy that seem, if the teacher on the radio was correct, to have been of no value to anyone.  I remember, too, the phrase “repetition fixes firmly” and wonder what is being repeated to today’s children, what will be repeated to tomorrow’s children and fixed firmly in their minds and, more importantly, in their souls.  While we have them, and before the “world” gets them, the world “free of content”, to “teach them how to think” we have those golden moments, the signal  opportunity to open the doors to wonder and truth for them in great works of fiction, lasting tales of great literature, bedtime stories, poetry and prose, and the life of virtue or simple good manners.  Despite what the well trained educators want us to believe tales are necessary, memory is real and education is empty without either of those valuable parts of our humanity.

Whether you are a new parent or about to become one; whether you are looking for a baby gift, a unique shower gift for your best friend’s first or third or fifth child, something for the new Dad, or for a new set of grandparents the ISI Foundations Book Set is a great thing to consider.  The Christian Book Corner (t-CBC) is interested in the very best in Christian, Catholic and main-stream literature, children’s books and stories and other media and this five volume “anthology” is a unique collection of valuable classsics in children’s literature that fits in all of those categories.

The ISI Foundations Book Set makes a unique and perfect baby shower gift for a boy or girl.  Each volume is filled with vintage children’s stories, fables and fantasies, for the littlest to youngsters who can read them on their own, or enjoy the pleasure of having them read as bedtime stories or at any time of day.  As a gift, or for your own home, whether you are a parent, a grandparent or a doting Aunt or Uncle, you will find these five attractive volumes a wonderful addition to the library and to the life and education of the little ones God has placed in your care.

It would also make a wonderful presentation gift for your school library.  But, beware, all of that content may be too heavy for a well trained educator to lift.


  1. I had the same experience reading the Little House series…in the middle of the night…at, what, age 4? 5? I thought “Almanzo” was pronounce “Am-zo”…to this day, the series fails to compare to the majesty of my imagination.

    • You very nearly read the print off the pages of those books. I also remember you memorizing the whole of the Wizard of Oz so that you knew and could recite everyone’s lines in your play. A better Dorothy there never was.

  2. I also remember Miss Burgess and “…into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred” I drew pictures of bending birches to her teaching of Robert Frost. I created my own version of e e cummings free verse under her tutelage. I am greatly saddened at what wonderful things my children, and their children, aren’t learning. And at what they are.

    • Ochone, O. Is trua mor.


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