|Andromeda and the Sea Monster |
by Domenico Guidi, 1694
We started teaching our first grade students those incredible Greek myths last week.
I always begin with Perseus and Medusa because it is a fantastic story that never fails to ignite the imagination.
Children love to dwell in that space of secure horror. They know that the myths are not real but relish the possibility that perhaps Medusa may be lurking around the corners of their bedroom at night. And they delight in the fact that they can defeat her.
It has been well documented that children play to understand the world and to cope with emotions.
We have certainly witnessed this firsthand in the dramatic reenactments our students enthusiastically presented for us. On Friday they asked my coteacher Oni and I if they could act out the story for us.
Each child had a role. There were the usual suspects, Medusa, Andromeda, Perseus, the sea monster, Cassiopeia, Athena, Pegasus, Hermes, etc. but once those all-stars were assigned the children got creative. One girl happily became the rock Andromeda sits on whilst awaiting her imminent fate and another assumed the role of the chains Andromeda struggles against as the monster approaches.
It amazed me that in their eyes each role was equally important.
Talk about team work.
What an amazing group of children!
The impressive aspect of all this is that we haven't even finished telling the story. At least not in detail and certainly not with the various twists and embellishments that have come with centuries of storytelling.
It makes me think of good 'ol Joe who wrote, "Living myths are not invented but occur, and are recognized by seers and poets, to be then cultivated and employed as catalysts of spiritual (i.e., psychological) well-being".