Our upper elementary students at PCA are presently reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a classic novel, most well-known in the series it belongs to, The Chronicles of Narnia. The series was read to me by my mother when I was a child, and I developed a love for the stories then. Recently, I re-read them as an adult and was awed by their richness and depth. In my opinion, C. S. Lewis has a capacity to reach young minds as well as adults, and simultaneously deliver teaching and correction for the Christian life. It is wonderful that PCA can not only teach these stories, as many schools do, but can pull out the deep, Scripture-rooted themes, as well.
Take, for example, the moment in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Lucy is no longer seen as a liar, her three siblings step into the magical world of Narnia for themselves, and their eyes are opened to truth: a moment, surely, for teaching about faith and believing in what is unseen. (“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not see and yet have believed.'” John 20:29; “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1). In this passage, we read:
And now there was no mistaking it, and all four children stood blinking in the daylight of a winter day… Peter turned at once to Lucy.
“I apologize for not believing you,” he said, “I’m sorry. Will you shake hands?”
“Of course,” said Lucy, and did.
Lewis brings the reader into a powerful scene and shows us a glimpse of justice and forgiveness. In the build-up and dramatic irony prior to this moment, the reader empathizes with Lucy. We know she is telling the truth, though her siblings do not believe her. We wait for the moment of justice when they will see and she will stand correct. And then it comes, with a swift apology by Peter, who immediately recognizes his fault, is convicted, and seeks her forgiveness. We get the idea that he will not go on until they are reconciled. And Lucy is quick to forgive. But what of Susan and Edmund? We are left unsatisfied by their lack of remorse. Why? Because God has created us with a longing for justice.
Thus, even in this short scene, there is opportunity to teach our children. We have a character with immense faith (Lucy), a character quick to repent (Peter), and two characters still unconvicted in their hearts (Edmund and Susan). Which characters set the good example for us?
I’m thankful for such classic, teachable, and molding literature by which we may steer our children to truth – not simply right moral action – and guide even our own adult hearts into examination before God.