Tom, Huck, and Teaching Discernment
Yep, this classic tale of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Becky Thatcher is alive and well at our house. Well, at least in the “literary” sense.
My third and fourth grader are loving how we’ve chosen to tackle this book. Each school day, we read aloud, assigning characters. I always get stuck with the narrator. They jump at the chance to be Tom, that is until Huck Finn enters the scene. Then, just like all the boys in St. Petersburg, my girls are inexplicably drawn to this tragic figure.
While the words of Mark Twain may be filling our house, you won’t see us reenacting this Great American novel too much. Unless, of course, it includes a visit to Tom Sawyer’s Island at the Magic Kingdom. You have to remember, I’m the mom of girls, not boys. And as such, I’m not one for keeping pinch-bugs or tics in percussion cap boxes. Not that I have percussion cap boxes laying around as it is. But we do have plenty of tics out back in our woods.
And, as that mom of girls, I can’t say I’m all that happy when it comes to Tom’s advances toward Becky. I’ve told my girls that if a boy ever proposes engagement, sealed with a kiss, to them at their young ages, a slap reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara to Rhett Butler is in order. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t promote violence, but I’m telling you Tom comes on way too strong for my liking.
Our reading of Tom’s adventures made a post I came across this morning very timely. Over at the Gospel Coalition, Christina Fox offers thoughts on “How to Help Your Child Read With Discernment.” I found it to be a great reminder as I navigate Tom’s world of superstition, misbehavior, racism, and disrespect for those in authority. She writes:
Selecting good books for our kids to read is important to their growth in faith as well as in their literacy, knowledge, and emotional life. Teaching them how to do it themselves is even better.
I love how Christina goes on to share ways we can determine whether a book is indeed “good reading” for our kids. And, how when we choose books like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we can walk through the literature with them, guiding them in the process. You can read more of what she has to say here.
As you read that, I think I’ll go order a couple copies of Anne of Green Gables from Amazon. We’re going to need some girlish drama once we finish Mark Twain’s boyish adventures.