Of Dragons and other myths

So I have the whole school plus a good number of parents in Assembly today.  I have told the story of St George and the Dragon (possibly not wholly as legend would have it) and, as is usual, I get hands in the air from the children wishing to contribute further and ask questions.  One in particular, lets call them X, has a hand raised and is keen to be called to speak.  Now X has a fine, enquiring mind, is articulate and insightful, so asking them to speak in Friday Assembly is bound to lead to a deep and profound discussion…I wasn’t disappointed!

“Do Dragons really exist?”

20+ staff, 30+ parents, 160 children from 3 to 11.  I am asked to comment on something that relates not only to Dragons but to the fundamental belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, God and whatever it is that lives under your bed!  I paused for a moment…

I’ll leave my personal religious, Scientific and spiritual beliefs aside for now.  Fundamentally, I am a primary educator and a parent. So I answered as best I could:  “Perhaps they do,” I said, realising that this is too easy a way out and would not satisfy X’s need to understand.  X is 9.  So I went on: “We don’t know for sure that they DON’T exist, so there is enough doubt for us to believe that dragons might exist.  There is a grain of truth in legends and it is impossible for us to know the true origins of the story.”

I could tell that this was unsatisfactory   X raised a hand again.  They spoke: “Perhaps they didn’t know what the creature was and so they gave it a name to help the people understand what they didn’t know.”

I certainly could not have said it better myself.

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2 thoughts on “Of Dragons and other myths

  1. Great illustration of the variability/subjectivity of factual knowledge and how even young children understand this. Now we just to convince the SoS …

  2. I saw not one but a swarm of dragons devouring boys in a far off land recently. A real fairy story which is stuff of legends. St George, I believe, had not only forgotten to oil his chariot but he believed too much in his own worth and not in passion and fantasy. A lesson learnt me thinks…

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