Teaching Values with The Pilgrim’s Progress
Welcome back to day eight of my 10 Days of teaching values in your homeschool series! Today’s topic is about one of my favorite allegories. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a beautiful book to help your children see good character traits and how to be watchful for pitfalls that can keep us from doing what we know is the right thing.
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But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
An allegory is a story with a hidden meaning.
One man, Christian, has been urged to leave his town – the City of Destruction – to find the city of salvation, known as Mt. Zion. On his journey, Christian meets many, many people. Some seem to be friends, while others seem to be enemies – many of them wittingly or unwittingly trying to lead Christian off the path that leads to his final destination.
In The Pilgrim’s Progress, each of the characters represents a different type of person. Some of the characters have honorable qualities and some don’t. There are even some that have tricky traits that can seem good when they actually aren’t at all.
I like to read and later reread this book with children of all ages. It’s a good practice in discernment to meet the characters throughout the story and determine their whether their motives are good or bad. As an allegory, it’s a beautiful picture of our walk with the Holy Spirit toward eternity and how important it is to be of good character and find people to walk with us in this life who are also of good character.
The Pilgrim’s Progress Offers Rich Character Study
From beginning to end, the book offers a fantastic study of character qualities through the many varied people Christian meets along his journey. For instance:
- Pliable – who starts on the journey with Christian only to get discouraged and go home
- Worldly Wiseman – who encourages Christian to give up his silly fascination with religion and stray from his journey
- Demas – who tries to tempt Christian away from his journey with worldly wealth
- Evangelist – who first brings the Gospel message to Christian and urges him on his journey to Mt. Zion
- Shining Ones – who are guardians to Christian throughout his journey
- Faithful – a companion of Christian’s during the journey
As you can tell, each person’s character traits “fits” his or her name and each character (there are many more) holds a very important place in values training discussions. The wealth of Biblical and character symbolism in The Pilgrim’s Progress is unmatched!
The original 1678 version of The Pilgrim’s Progess by Paul Bunyan is a tad difficult to read and follow. Luckily, there are many wonderful versions available that allow you to read this book many times over with children at different ages. Here are some of the options:
Curriculum for The Pilgrim’s Progress
If you’re interested in completing a very in-depth study of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I would suggest the curriculum below. It’s very workbook-like with questions for each chapter of the book, but also unit-study-like as it ties in Bible, history and more.
Movie Versions of The Pilgrim’s Progress
These movies don’t even come close to comparing to the books, but they can make nice additions to your study.
I’m a huge fan of Christian allegories and there are many wonderful children’s allegories I highly recommend. Some of these can be read with elementary children, while all of them can be used with middle and high school kids. Yes, even the picture books! There are many times I’ve even used the picture books at church as part of fantastic Sunday school lessons.
Now it’s your turn! What Biblical allegories have you read and recommend?
Tomorrow’s post…Resources for Character Building.
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