The story of Cinderella offers a lot in the way of hope. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that it’s such an enduring fairy tale. One of the hopeful messages offered by the story of Cinderella is that of upward mobility…namely, the idea that your place in life is not fixed and your social or economic position can change for the better. What’s more, the story of Cinderella lays out the conditions for making that change, and those are working hard and having a good personality.
Cinderella starts out life in a very low place. She is practically a servant in her own home. She does all the cooking and cleaning while the rest of her family is waited on and taken care of by her. However, her hard work, dedication, and patience are eventually rewarded. She wins the heart of the Prince at the ball, and subsequently gets married to him, thus becoming a princess and moving up in life to a much better place.
This story is great at instilling that sense of hope in kids that they can move up to a better place. Relate this concept to a younger child by discussing with them what they can grow up to do and be with hard work and dedication. Perhaps you have your own story of upward mobility that you can share with your child. Or maybe it was a family member who came from a hard place and made a better life for themselves and their family. Also, be sure to brainstorm together about traits in a person that make them be able to get to a better place in life.
This is a great topic to discuss with older kids or students as it relates a classic story from their younger years, Cinderella, to a life concept they have the potential to have a meaningful, thoughtful conversation about, and one that is increasingly more relevant to them as they get older. Some good related discussion topics to be directed at older kids/students would be: What does upward mobility mean to you? Do you think everyone has an equal opportunity for upward mobility? If not, why not, and what factors might make it harder for some to move up in life? Do you think Cinderella could have ended up moving up in life without the fairy godmother’s help? Can you think of an alternate story line where Cinderella meets and marries the Prince without the fairy godmother’s help?