Blemished Books

Do you throw away an apple because it has a bruise?  Most likely not, if you’re a homeschool mom.  You cut off the bruise and eat the good part.  That’s how it should be with books: you eliminate the problematic parts and consume it anyway.  But I knew one HS mom who thought if you encountered anything unacceptable, however small, you should get rid of that book. Just toss it.

A different friend of mine, but one with the same mindset, changed her mind about reading The Wind in the Willows to her children when Mole threw down his paintbrush and said, “Bother! O blow!” Hang spring-cleaning!”  She considered that cursing.  Others won’t read a book unless it was written by a Christian.  Some reject fiction altogether, or picture books in which the animals wear clothes.

That leaves precious little fiction to read which is worth reading.  (And yes, I think some fiction is worth reading.) There are few flawless books (really only one) and the recent children’s books which have been written scrupulously avoiding anything slightly objectionable and chock-full of multi-culturalism and every kind of political correctness make dismal reading.

Do we have to be so thin-skinned?  Can we learn to extract the precious from the worthless?  It’s easy when you read a book aloud – just omit the parts you don’t want your children to hear. Better yet, read it as it stands and explain what’s wrong with it.  This is a perfect opportunity to discuss with your children ideas that differ from scripture.  Your children will encounter these ideas someday; discussing these kinds of things while on your own turf and when you’re there to interpret is an opportunity you should not avoid.