Nowadays, we know that plate tectonics explains the eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius, not an angry Zeus or Poseidon. 


And we’ve discovered that earth’s tilt toward the Sun explains the cold seasons, not a broken-hearted Demeter who misses her daughter Persephone a few months each year. 


And, of course, bacteria and viruses cause plagues, not the god Apollo’s silver arrows shot from the heights of Mt. Olympus. 


Much of what these myths explained long ago has been updated by science.  But are these old stories outdated?  In our modern world, is teaching schoolchildren about Greek Mythology still important?


I think absolutely so, and here’s why.


Love, jealousy, the willingness to share, the motivations of women and men––all our human longings, heroic ideals and faults are still with us.  They have not been updated by time, and few stories that children can understand explore them better than the Greek Myths––hundreds of interlocking tales about human nature.


If nowadays we’re worried about our economy, wars and climate change, we might as well be ancient Greeks, worried about event horizons that they, just like us, could never predict.  That’s what it is to be human.  That hasn’t changed.


The Greek Myths help children navigate the complex world of the mind and emotions, teach them to imagine and urge them toward a common cultural literacy, one the world indeed inherited from the Ancient Greeks––those creative storytellers who, along the way, invented the very ideals of democracy, not to mention the foundations of modern mathematics and science. 


For all these reasons and more, American schoolchildren should learn Greek Mythology.  How else will they know that an Odyssey is not just a minivan?  Or that demos, the root word for democracy, means the people?


                                                  ––Odds Bodkin



      

     To learn about my Common Core Greek Mythology performances for elementary children, click here. 

      

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     Why Teach Greek Mythology?