Any child brought up on, say, the Bible, Robinson Crusoe or Pilgrim's Progress has an education which must form his mind in such a way that when the time comes for the exercise of independent choice in the matter of study, he will naturally be ready to see and love what is good and noble in this world. -G.L.F., Parents' Review, "Children's Books"Then again, neither would a tiresome academic analysis on the use of allegory and metaphor in the story. Which, by the way, could take a few years. Pilgrim's Progress should be read and enjoyed. It should stir the imagination of the reader now and in the future, providing such rich pictures and ideas that one may play out in the backyard or find comfort during a personal struggle.
In our Family Sunday School, we are reading through this classic for a second time, the first time being about 8 years ago. When LizzieBee heard what we were going to be reading, she said, "Oh, good. Mei Fuh loved Pilgrim's Progress when she was a little girl, too!" Mei Fuh: Memories from China is Edith Schaeffer's memoir of the first five years of her life which were spent in China. It has a chapter on how Mei Fuh adored Pilgrim's Progress and how she and her sister would fill up a pillowcase with things and drag it to the top of the stairs and then deliciously let the "burden" tumble down.
Mrs. March broke the silence that followed Jo's words, by saying in her cheery voice, "Do you remember how you used to play Pilgrims Progress when you were little things? Nothing delighted you more than to have me tie my piece bags on your backs for burdens, give you hats and sticks and rolls of paper, and let you travel through the house from the cellar, which was the City of Destruction, up, up, to the housetop, where you had all the lovely things you could collect to make a Celestial City."
"What fun it was, especially going by the lions, fighting Apollyon, and passing through the valley where the hob-goblins were," said Jo.
"I liked the place where the bundles fell off and tumbled downstairs," said Meg.
"I don't remember much about it, except that I was afraid of the cellar and the dark entry, and always liked the cake and milk we had up at the top. If I wasn't too old for such things, I'd rather like to play it over again," said Amy, who began to talk of renouncing childish things at the mature age of twelve.
"We never are too old for this, my dear, because it is a play we are playing all the time in one way or another. Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City. Now, my little pilgrims, suppose you begin again, not in play, but in earnest, and see how far on you can get before Father comes home."
Have you noticed all the Pilgrim's Progress products that are out there now? Videos, games, maps, workbooks, dolls, et al. The wonderful thing about a living book is that all you need is the words and a mind that those words can work in. In our case, this time we are all listening to an audio (not dramatized) and narrating as we go. Simple. The reader has a lovely British accent. And yes, she pronounces the Slough of Despond as "slou" - rhymes with "plow".
lesson plan for Pilgrim's Progress in an old Parents' Review .
Introduction. Recapitulation of last lesson.
Read from The Pilgrim's Progress paragraph relating what happens in the morning following Christiana's dream.
Continue reading paragraphs relating that Secret tells Christiana that Christian and his companions will be glad when she and her children enter into their Father's threshold. Also of Christiana's sadness, and of the letter Secret has brought for her.
Read about Secret's reply to Christiana and the instructions he gives her as regards reading the letter.
Notice the lack of embellishments, the simplicity of the lesson and where the effort lies. Mason said that "Life is sustained on that which is taken in...not by that which is applied from without." (Vol. 6 p. 24)
Now didn't that post just end up in a different place than where it started?