A Lamplighter Moment from Mark Hamby

Are you reading “twaddle” to your children?

In her book, For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay helps us to understand that “twaddle” is the “useless” and “inferior” use of words “produced or written for children by adults.” She saw that it “devalued their minds” (p. 15).

Macaulay further contends that children “would be depressed by twaddle” (p. 31). Of the literature of our day, she writes, “We have never been so rich in books. But there has never been a generation when there is so much twaddle in print for children, much of it in schools” (p. 31).

So what kind of stories can we read to our children that cultivate a taste for rich, “twaddleless” literature? In just a few days, we will make available one such story. Entitled The Little Dauphin, this story tells of the suffering and fortitude of the nine year old son of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The perils of this little volume will capture your child’s heart with the remarkable paradigm of Romans 5: that we can rejoice in our suffering because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint.

At the end of his life, the young character in this story has suffered incomparably, but still maintains a steadfast hope. The story tells how the “hard school of adversity developed all the purity and nobility of the boy’s nature.” On his deathbed, as he finally succumbed to years of torture, the boy dismissed his pain with these simple words,
“Never mind . . . I shall not always suffer.”