Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.
I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's March 16th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
Tomorrow is known in some circles of the world as St. Patrick's day. Did you know that the original color associated with the holiday was blue and not green? Found that on the internet so it must be true. Can you imagine a blue Shamrock shake? Yum. What I love about myths and folklore is that many of the stories begin on solid ground with truth as the soil, but over time, they can take very unexpected turns.
"...just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth." Humphrey Carpenter
A little word of warning here. If you're afraid of snakes, feel free to skip ahead about 20 seconds, but don't worry, they're not real, and neither is the story about them.
SOUND OF SNAKES SLITHERING INTO THE SEA
One of the myths associated with St. Patrick is that he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea after they began to attack him while he was trying to complete a 40 day fast. But there is no fossil record or evidence of any kind to support this idea, that there would have been snakes in Ireland at that time. It was a story to symbolize the idea of driving out the old and evil pagan ways and bringing forth a new age. But there are still images everywhere of St. Patrick driving out snakes.
And once a story is passed down, it can travel over both distance and time. That's what happened with the myth of the cosmic hunt. Over 15,000 years ago our knowledge of the world was vastly different than what it is today. And as humans trying to make sense of things like patterns in the stars, we began to infuse the importance of animals into stories, and we have been able to trace versions of this myth through patterns of migration. The basic storyline is that a person or animal chases or kills one or more animals, and then creatures are turned into constellations. Sometimes it's a bear or a reindeer or an elk. But what is interesting is that these types of stories are not universal. For instance, the cosmic hunt is pretty much absent in Australia and places like Indonesia.
So what's the takeaway? (VO: Can we take away all of the snakes? They scare me.)
How can you help the humans you are raising understand that myths of animals turning into stars and snakes slithering into the sea used to help us make sense of the world that we inhabited at the time, but the world has changed and our stories need to change when we get new knowledge. Now, this doesn't mean we have to take away the magic of the myth or the truth that are being conveyed, it's actually a really tricky balance. And the way I like to approach it is to wait for them to ask the questions themselves. And then I'll answer with the truth about whatever story we're talking about. But then I do leave it a little open-ended because the truth is I can't prove that creatures weren't changed into constellations.
I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, hydrate. And remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity is our map and a willingness to revise our myths when we need to, we can be ready for anything.
So good luck. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.