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    Don’t Forget to Slay the Dragon

    July 27, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    For we are His workmanship,
    created in Christ Jesus for good works,
    which God prepared beforehand
    so that we would walk in them.

    Ephesians 2:10

    Some of us are born into trying times. I, for one, often wish I had lived during the latter part of King Arthur’s reign. This would be right after his defeat of the pagans, and right before the big battle in which he was killed. The Kingdom of Camelot, filled with virtuous knighthood, equity symbolized by round tables, and undeniably beautiful flowing dresses, is right up my alley.

    Important thoughts from Margaret Hodges' wonderful children's book, St. George and the Dragon

    Just don’t remind me about the lack of running water.

    Another great time for living might have been after America had first been established. The war in which she threw off the bounds of her unnatural subservience to England was over, and citizens were developing a new government based upon the created order.

    And there were still long flowing dresses, a definite plus.

    But I live now.

    We all do. Unfortunately, we seem to be watching the reversal of all that was accomplished by the Revolutionary War, where voters in the last election cried out not for freedom, but for slavery to a ruler who would rule them in an unnatural, tyrannical way. A ruler who does not seem to respect the Constitution which he vowed before the Creator to protect.

    My response is to alternately listen or read the news and respond with rants and fear, or follow the model of my dear friend Lady Ostrich and stick my head in the sand.

    Ranting is interesting, but generally accomplishes little. And ostriches aren’t exactly known for changing the world.

    There is, of course, the monastic approach. This is one view of homeschooling in a nutshell. You take the legacy of great books, great minds, great thoughts, and you pass them down within the home, allowing little souls to marinate in virtue and nobility until a time when the world is again ready for greatness.

    It’s worked throughout history, you know.

    And then there are those who are called to slay the dragon.

    Do you remember the scene in The Lord of the Rings where Frodo says that he wishes he had never been given the ring? This is one of the few times where the book and movie nicely parallel. Gandalf’s sage advice is that men do not choose their times, but they do choose what to do in the times that have been given to them.

    Frodo was a dragon-slayer in a metaphorical sense, just as his forbear Bilbo had been in the literal sense.

    Ancient tales remind us not to forget to slay the dragon, even when we feel that longing for our heavenly home.

    Yesterday afternoon, I sat down and read Margaret Hodges’ Saint George and the Dragon to the children. I can’t believe I put off acquiring this book for so long, for it is a treasure to behold and a joy to read. The children were enchanted! Here is another echo of timeless sage advice, given to Saint George {the Red Cross Knight} in the midst of a long journey which he knows will end in a battle with a ferocious dragon:

    After many days the path became thorny and led up a steep hillside, where a good old hermit lived in a little house by himself. While Una rested, the Red Cross Knight climbed with the hermit to the top of the hill and looked out across the valley. There against the evening sky they saw a mountaintop that touched the highest heavens. It was crowned with a glorious palace, sparkling like stars and circled with walls and towers and pearls and precious stones. Joyful angels were coming and going between heaven and the High City.

    Then the Red Cross Knight saw that a little path led up the distant mountain to that city, and he said, “I thought that the fairest palace in the world was the crystal tower in the city of the Fairy Queen. Now I see a palace far more lovely. Una and I should go there at once.”

    But the old hermit said, “The Fairy Queen has sent you to do brave deeds in this world. That High City that you see is in another world. Before you climb the path to it and hang your shield on its wall, go down into the valley and fight the dragon that you were sent to fight.

    Sometimes, when a fierce dragon is staring us in the face, we are tempted to skip the fight and venture off in search of the High City. The High City is our ultimate destination, to be sure. But first, we have work to do. This life isn’t all that there is, but it matters nonetheless.

    Words from the wise: Don’t forget to slay the dragon.

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  • Reply ...they call me mommy... July 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    LOVE this post…thanks for a kick in the pants! We LOVE Saint George & the Dragon…almost wore out the LIBRARY copy (oops!)…we also love The Kitchen Night by same author!

  • Reply Pilgrim July 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    My 2 year old is now obsessed. A debate broke out about whether the dragon or knights have phones. Now he is in trouble because he is trying to slay dragons and interrupting other things that need to get done. High spirited that boy is!

  • Reply Pilgrim July 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Just checked this book out yesterday. I have been wondering how you equip and encourage “slaying the dragon” and keep coming back to “marinate” them just like you suggest. It doesn’t seem like enough but “little drops of water”. Thanks for reminding us.

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