One of the morals of the classic tale of Snow White is that vanity can lead to your downfall. Explain vanity to your child or students as a negative quality that means someone thinks too much of themselves, cares too much about themselves (at the expense of others), and is too focused on their own outside looks and outwardly appearance rather than caring about how they are in the inside. Snow White’s evil stepmother is the embodiment of vanity in the story. After reading the story with your child or students, use the following talking points as starters for a discussion on the personality trait of vanity.

Snow White’s stepmother spends her time looking at herself in her mirror and obsessing over her looks. She prides herself in being the most beautiful in the land. Although she is the most beautiful in looks, however, she is not the most beautiful in personality. She neglects this important aspect of herself, and thus becomes a very vain person. Being vain is a very close trait to being what’s described as a shallow person. A shallow person does not think much about what’s truly important deep down, instead caring mainly about outward appearances and things that don’t matter much in the long run.

Ask your students or children to think about what the opposite of vanity would be. What would be a better way to react to being very beautiful? The opposite personality trait of vanity is humbleness. Ask your students or children to think about what humbleness means to them. Humbleness means not bragging about your looks or achievements etc. Being humble makes you beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. Ask them to consider two people: a very pretty or handsome person who dresses in the most expensive, trendy clothes, yet is mean and only cares about themselves, or someone who doesn’t look very attractive, and wears cheap clothes, but is kind hearted and a great friend. Who would ultimately be the more beautiful one?

Finally, a lesson can be tied in about the adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” As shown in the example above of two people with different looks and different personalities, tell your students or child that we can judge someone by how they look. People can’t choose their physical features. They also may not be able to choose their financial situation and the way they dress because of this. They can, however, control their personalities and way of being to a big extent, so that is a better gauge of a person than anything else.

You can also check out this blog post for a discussion on another negative trait of the Queen’s…jealousy.