The unhappiness in this world is absolutely epidemic. Spouses fight and avoid each other, children resist and resent their parents, employees dislike their bosses, and nations lie to each other and fight with each other. How can we identify where this all starts, so we can do something about it?
The problem is that right from the cradle we're regularly taught lies that distort everything we think, feel, and do for the rest of our lives.
Sleeping Beauty runs into a little trouble that results in her being cursed to prick her finger and die at age sixteen. But with a magic spell her death is changed to a long sleep, and then she is saved from the sleep by the kiss of a handsome and charming prince.
Cinderella is saved from misery and servitude by an insightful, handsome and loving prince.
The Frog Prince is rescued from his unfortunate amphibian condition by the kiss of a benevolent princess---who is beautiful too, of course.
Goldilocks violates the home of three wild bears, but she leaves uneventfully after an excellent breakfast.
Hansel and Gretel are abandoned to starve in the woods, but instead they find a house built of gingerbread. When that turns out to have a downside---the cannibal witch---they nonetheless manage to push the witch into the oven, where she is burned to death. As they leave, they discover the added bonuses of jewels and other treasure that will sustain them in luxury for life.
The beautiful Snow White is born from magic, but when her mother dies, the new queen is obsessed with being the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, and she sees Snow White as a threat. After the queen commissions a failed assassination, Snow White lives with the Seven Dwarves. Finally, the queen poisons Snow White, but she is returned to life by a kiss from the Handsome Prince.
In "The Beauty and the Beast," a complicated series of agreements and potential imprisonments are avoided by a beautiful girl whose love transforms the Beast back to the handsome prince he once was.
The Ugly Duckling becomes a gorgeous and far more acceptable swan.
Peter Pan lives forever in a world of youth, adventure, and fun.
See the pattern? We hope that some magical intervention–marriage, a promotion, whatever–will change our lives from misery to happiness, without our doing a thing to make it happen. That's why we play the lottery, even though the odds of winning are statistically dismal and studies have clearly demonstrated that lottery winners are not happier than others.
I'm not condemning all fairy tales–they're fun–but children also need to be taught that our lives are the result of all the individual choices we make. And we need to be taught from the cradle which choices lead to genuine and lasting happiness.
Start from the cradle with the truth–the real thing–or you and your children will pay a price you cannot imagine.
Learn how to teach choices.
Eliminate confusion and conflict with your children.