Character Building using folk tales, The Little Red Hen


henThe story of the Little Red Hen has been told for ages to teach young people basic moral values.

Using farm animals for the characters makes it interesting and fun for children, teens; as well as adults, and stimulates their imaginations as they learn some important life lessons.

Even though this folk tale has been passed down for generations, its message is timeless.

We can all relate to these 10 practical lessons learned from the Little Red Hen.

  1. Thrift – The story begins with the Little Red Hen finding some discarded grain seeds. Nobody else saw the value of these seeds, but she knew they had potential. The thrifty hen knows better than to let her fortunate find go to waste.
  2. Initiative – Nobody had to tell the hen what to do with the grain seeds. She took the initiative to pick up the seeds and take advantage of her good fortune. People can learn a lesson from her initiative instead of waiting to be told what to do.
  3. Plan ahead – The Little Red Hen could see the future potential of those seeds if they were planted and harvested. Instead of just focusing on the present, she could plan ahead to improve her situation.
  4. Work hard – The hen wasn’t afraid of hard work even if nobody else on the farm would help her. She knew that her labor would pay off in the end and didn’t hesitate to get busy. Kids can learn how important it is to work hard if they want to succeed.
  5. Self reliance – The Little Red Hen didn’t count on anyone else to help her out even though she asked. When the other farm animals refused to help she just went ahead and did all the work on her own. This story has the practical lesson of self reliance that is important for young people to learn.
  6. Basic skills – Apparently the other animals on the farm did not have the basic skills required to plant, harvest and mill the grain into flour needed to make bread. Only the hen had the know how that she probably learned from observing the workings of the farm.
  7. Persistence – At every stage of the project, the Little Red Hen did not give up. Even though she did not have any help and the work was hard, her persistence and perseverance paid off in the end.
  8. Ignore naysayers – The other farm animals surely told the hen she was crazy to do all that hard work while they were lazing about and having fun. It’s important for kids to learn to ignore the naysayers while doing the right thing.
  9. Rewards – Of course the most practical lesson is that the initiative and hard work paid great rewards in the end. The Little Red Hen had some delicious bread to eat and share with her family while the other animals had nothing.
  10. Fairness – And finally, the animals who didn’t share in the work didn’t earn any of the bread. This is probably the most important lesson of all in today’s society. With all the talk of fairness, the other farm animals really did get their “fair share”. The Little Red Hen had every right to keep the fruits of her labor and not share it with anyone who didn’t help.

With today’s entitlement society the story of the Little Red Hen should be revived and told more often. So many people have come to expect the government or someone else to provide for them. They envy the wealth of others even though they did nothing themselves to earn it.

People would be well advised to take a page out of this timeless tale and apply it to their own lives.

Those who have worked hard and achieved success have every right to keep what they have earned and should not feel obligated to share it with those who are not willing to capitalize on their own abilities.

These are some valuable practical lessons that everyone should learn to achieve their own success.

Carol Watson


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