7 Reasons That Jack And The Beanstalk Is A Bad Example For Children
As a parent, I’m conscious that I have a grave and onerous responsibility to instil an inherent sense of right and wrong in my son. To make certain that, during his formative years, he is given the equipment which will eventually enable him to become a good and productive member of society. To give him good values; tolerance, a respect for others, for law and order, for property. For that reason I won’t be reading him Jack and the Beanstalk. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Jack Is Feckless. What’s the first thing he does? He – on behalf of his mother – takes their one marketable asset (a cow) to market, but instead of selling it – as instructed – to raise much needed capital, he takes it upon himself to strike a different bargain with a shifty stranger. He swaps the cow for some magic beans. That’s magic beans. Beans that are magic. This says that not only is disobeying your parents the right thing to do, but that if a stranger offers you something highly dubious in return for a real and tangible asset that’s a perfectly good transaction to make. Essentially this encourages both charlatanism and fecklessness. And Paul McKenna.
2. Jack Is A Trespasser. Later in the story, he goes through a garden and breaks into a house. And it’s not just anyone’s house. It’s the house of a poor, unfortunate sufferer of the genetic condition giantism. So not only is he trespassing, he’s committing that crime against a minority. Despite being rather high up, Jack’s the lowest sort of criminal bully.
3. Jack Is Unapologetic. And what is the giant’s reaction to finding that someone has broken into his home? Well, perfectly understandably, he’s not best pleased. He wants to set about Jack (and he is perfectly within his rights to defend himself and his property using reasonable force). But what does Jack do? Like the weasel he is, he slinks off, with the help of the giant’s wife, no less. Jack has set one partner against the other and has breached the sacred bonds of trust between a man and his wife, and all because he’s too cowardly to face his victim.
4. Jack Is A Burglar. Then on his way out, Jack steals some gold coins. So it’s not mere trespass now. It’s burglary. Should we really be encouraging our children to consider burgling the homes of minorities? Is that really a good message? Wouldn’t a better message be don’t burgle the homes of minorities? Don’t, in fact, burgle anyone?
5. Jack Is A Serial Offender. What does Jack do after he’s returned home? Does he, in the cold light of day, come to regret his actions? Does he show remorse? Does he head to his local police station to hand himself in or return to the giant’s house to reimburse him and offer to make amends? No. He goes back to the giant’s house and burgles it again. Twice! Jack is not only a career criminal. By picking on the poor giantism sufferer again and again, he’s persecuting a minority.
6. Jack Is A Murderer. What does Jack do during his final burglary? He murders the giant; a man who has already had his (sadly truncated) life blighted by an unfortunate genetic condition and who has been tyrannized by a serial burglar, is killed in cold blood by Jack in a desperate attempt to cover up his many crimes. Even Ryan Giggs hasn’t resorted to murdering people yet to cover anything up. We’d all better hope that he doesn’t read Jack and the Beanstalk. The body count could be enormous.
7. Jack Is A Psychopath. What manner of comeuppance does Jack receive for his numerous sordid and cruel misdeeds. Prison? Capital punishment? A community service order? A lifetime subscription to OK Magazine? No. Jack gets to marry his sweetheart – the daughter of a count* – and live happily ever after, a wealthy man. Happily! He doesn’t even suffer from the slightest bit of conscience induced existential torment. There’s no regret at all, or remorse, the lack of which is one of the most marked symptoms of psychopathy.
Is a disobedient, feckless, trespassing, uncompassionate, home-wrecking, burgling, serial-offending, bullying, bigoted, murdering psychopath really a healthy role model for our children?** Jack even gets rewarded for his appalling behaviour. I don’t think we should be telling this story to our children at all. I think we should be reading them this one.
*Not a typo.
**It didn’t go well for Colonel Gadaffi’s kids.