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5 Moral Lessons to Learn From the Story 'Jack and the Beanstalk'

Tim is a local educator who earned his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Albright College in Reading, PA. He is an avid writer and artist.

Some Truth From a Fairytale

As a child, one of my favorite stories was "Jack and The Beanstalk." I viewed poor Jack as a child who was trying to do what was best for his family. Now that I am I older, I have revisited the story and have found that there are some important life lessons.

1. When Your Mother Sends You to the Market, Do What She Tells You

Jack had a simple task to do: take his cow to the market and sell it to get some money to buy his family food. But, he got taken in by a swift talking bean salesman. Moral of the story: Listen to your mother when she tells you to do something.

Of course, the story kind of works out for Jack. The beans get thrown out the window, and during the night while they slept, a great beanstalk rises up into the sky. In the morning, Jack wakes up and climbs the beanstalk. This brings me to my next life lesson.

2. Do Not Let Your Eyes Become Bigger Than Your Wallet

Jack lays his eyes on the giant's possessions (the harp, the gold coins, and the hen that lays the golden eggs) and he desires them. This simple act leads Jack down the wrong path.

3. What's Yours Is Yours, What's Theirs You Do Not Touch Without Permission

When all is said and done, Jack stole the harp, the gold coins, and the golden hen — items that did not belong to him. He then climbed down the bean stalk, chopped it down, and then let the giant fall to his doom. Of course, Jack and his mom lived happily ever after. But can we truthfully say that the giant got what he deserved? He was going to eat poor Jack, but wasn't the giant just protecting his possessions? This leads into next moral lesson.

4. If You Know It's Wrong Then It's Wrong — No Matter How Much You Justify What You're Doing

Jack saw a way to end his family's plight, but it was not the most honorable one. He could have held his head up high, admitted his mistake, and then sought out work to help support his mother and himself.

5. Last Life Lesson

In all fairness, there is a new politically correct version of "Jack and Beanstalk." In this story, Jack realizes how he has wronged the giant and seeks to right that wrong. He works out a deal with the giant in which he has visitation rights with the harp. In return, the giant gives Jack gold coins in order to help Jack and his mother survive. The new version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" leads me to my last life lesson: When everyone works together, more is accomplished.

© 2012 Timothy Whitt


Timothy Whitt (author) from New Jersey on June 15, 2020:

I come from parents who taught me stealing is wrong no matter what. We were poor and didn’t have a lot. The article is not meant to be a critique for children. I used the story as an an example for adults as to what we should be teaching our children.

Donna Bynoe on June 15, 2020:

I personally think that you should not try to alter the work of someone before you. This story was written at a time 3 hundred years ago where poor children had to work to earn a living. We can critique the book but why try to alter story. I enjoyed this story as a child and never saw it as anything more than a great adventure which captivated my attention. Children do not possess critical thinking skills and that is a gift from God. I am trying to collect these fairy tales before adults, who are for some reason, trying to take the joy out of childhood and have them removed or rewritten. Moral of the story. Jack was clever and fearless and saw an opportunity and seized it. This Giant ate children so its "may the best man win."

Michelle Nichyl on April 20, 2020:

I got here trying to find the moral of the story. I was reading the story with my kid, 7 years old. I asked myself about what is my kid learn from this. I asked my little one: what the boy did was right? My little one said yes, because he need it to survive. In my point of view, stealing is not right, not matter how bad or mean was the giant or how poor the kid was. It is not okay .

I like this on January 07, 2020:

I like this book

Yohanna on October 17, 2019:

This story is soo fun this is my first time readig it i love it. CHEERS

jennyrose on February 04, 2019:

this is a nice story.

Yoav on December 18, 2018:

Only reading this to my 4 year old did I see this is a truly terrible story for all the reasons you stated. The new pc version sounds equally awful... So the lesson being is that if you steal what is not yours you can make good by sharing what you stole with the rightful owner!

Bella-Anderson on October 20, 2018:

I disagree with this assessment of the story "Jack and the Beanstalk." Jack didn't listen to his mother, he stole, and he killed, and in the end, he and his mother lived happily ever after, by selling the golden eggs from the stolen swan.

There were injustices between the wealthy and the poor, and it was not uncommon back then to have a giant (fat) wealthy person eating more than his fair share, while the poor starved themselves to death. This tale is similar to Robin Hood, that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The rich in those tales were greedy and selfish, hoarding gold, living in their tall castles, gorging themselves on food, while the rest of the people starved to death.

Jack wouldn't have gone back to the giant to negotiate, because if he did, he would be punished by having his head chopped off for stealing. And besides that, Jack doesn't have anything to negotiate with the giant, because he's poor. What could he offer? And who would negotiate with a criminal?

ic on August 31, 2018:


KT on April 17, 2018:

Just got a copy of Jack and the Beanstalk and read it to my grandkids. It made perfect sense to me as a kid, but now through my adult understanding, just seems wrong of Jack! Looked it up to see if I was missing some great moral, and found your article and comments very helpful.

Aliya on February 09, 2018:

I just wanted to say that it was great

Shamnas on October 30, 2017:

What is moral of the story pls tell me

Jeremy on February 10, 2017:

What about: If you are going to steal, you must be prepared to kill.

Belinda Roccaforte on June 19, 2014:

Researching various fairytales for their allegorical value as morality tales. Ancient fairy tales are being re-written because at face value we see the lessons as outdated and actually "bad." If one takes the time, however, to look deeper the original moral was the best. Instead of reinterpreting Jack and the Beanstalk and determine Jack was a thief and the giant was good the original moral had to do with the giant being a hoarder of wealth and someone who has isolated himself from humanity in his greed. Jack personifies the whim of fate that destroys the giant and takes his hoard. Not dissimilar to the parable Jesus told of the rich man who stored up all of his wealth and then "that night he died." Thanks G. K. Chesterton. I love fairytales. --the Ethics of Elfland

rubie on March 10, 2014:

iM sO veRy eNjOy tHe sToRy ..

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on December 05, 2012:

Great decoding. I also see Jack as the bad guy and the story is about how wealth is truly acquired.

Timothy Whitt (author) from New Jersey on August 09, 2012:

I have always loved fairy tales. I look for the lessons in them we should have learned. Thanks all for your comments

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 09, 2012:

Certain things which we ignore during our childhood, we understand after wards, your hub is an excellent example of lesson learnt after wards, great share, voted up.

Timothy Whitt (author) from New Jersey on August 08, 2012:

Thanks for you wonderful comment. I look at each story and look for deeper meaning.

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on August 08, 2012:

Hey--I learned sopmething from this--and I never thought much about Jack and the BEanstalk in wuite this way! Welcome to Hubs! I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I gotta give this an Up ONE AND BEAUTIFUL. I' can't help myself as I simply must be your biggest fan!

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