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Parenting and Epic Literature: Teaching the Story of Heroes

NEW! Join Epic Heroes Quest here What is the definition of Epic Literature?

Epic Literature??????? has the following features.

  • Broad scope in time, with nationalistic emphasis
  • Narrative motifs including warfare and rulership
  • Historical impulse, with allusions to key events in the life of a nation
  • Supernatural context
  • Plot with recurrent patterns or situations
  • Narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech
    ~Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word, pp. 49-51

    To a child learning to read, at first, those symbols loom on the page, defying understanding. If you have stood before rock monuments or stelas in Central America, gazing at the hieroglyphs, you know how it feels. Now that the dense jungle has been cleared away to reveal the remains of the Mayan civilization, that is only the first step. Men and women have since dedicated their lives to learning the meaning of those glyphs.

    Sometimes we feel that way about the Bible and other epic literature. It????????s like a whole different language. It????????s true??????? the written word, or literature, is in a different realm from the spoken word of our day. And epic literature has special characteristics that set it in a class all by itself. The first feature that creates a barrier for most of us is the diction, or choice of words. Richard D. Rust, in his book Feasting on the Word, tells us that epic literature is ??????narrated in a ceremonial style or exalted diction which is deliberately distanced from ordinary speech.??????

    Webster????????s 1828 Dictionary defines ??????epic?????? as ??????otherwise called heroic. . . which narrates a story. . . in an elevated style. . . usually the achievements of some distinguished hero, and intended to form the morals and affect the mind with the love of virtue. The end [or purpose] is to improve morals, and inspire a love of virtue, bravery and illustrious actions.??????

    If we as parents wish to give our children a foundation as firm as Rock, which will be remembered in the hearts of our children, and their children, and so on, we must develop teachings with staying power.

    After thousands of years, the Bible remains the chief and most widely read of classic literature. What makes it an enduring best seller, past the peak of three weeks, six months, or even a year? Why is it never really obsolete? Its language remains untouched by the jungle of our modern day semantics. As we leave the mundane behind, and lead the way through that straight and narrow passage, past the language barrier, we begin an epic adventure with our families. We begin to. . .

    Discover things that will be treasured,
    Perhaps not always in money measured???????
    Gems of knowledge, virtue, truth,
    Eternal standards for our family and youth.

    Best of all, if we as parents faithfully train, or ??????direct the growth of?????? our children, we will watch them discover great truths and heaven-sent messages in the exalted diction of the word of God. Youth will rise to the noble standards in epic literature, and find the epic hero within themselves.

    The following poem pays tribute to the hero of epic literature and presents a pattern for the successful quest to build good character. It invites the reader to help young adults discover the epic hero within them. Read Ode to the Epic Hero

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