There are more than just construction lessons to be learned from the three little pigs. These little characters can teach a lot about life and survival and their personalities reflect their outlook on the world. Let’s look at some of the lessons kids can learn from them.

  1. Watch out for the big, bad, wolf – The big, bad wolf comes in many forms. Like Mayhem, he can show up at anytime –  as a storm, an unexpected illness, a setback of some kind…the list is endless. It is wise to be on the look out for him, especially if you know he is lurking about. Being properly prepared for adversity is the best defense against it.
  2. Short cuts can cost you a lot – The first two pigs built houses of straw and sticks. While they were able to get the work done fast, their houses did not stand up to the huffs and puffs of the big bad wolf. They ended up losing their homes and in some versions, their very lives.
  3. Hard work pays off – The third pig spent the time and effort to build a house from bricks and mortar. While his brothers were enjoying a leisurely existence, he was busy working away building a strong house. In the end, both of the lazy brothers found refuge in the sturdy home of their more practical brother in the versions where the pigs manage to escape the wolf.
  4. Create a solid plan for your future – All three pigs created a plan for the future, more or less. The problem is –  the first pigs were rather short-sighted. A straw house would not stand up against a rainstorm and a stick house would not stand up against a bad rainstorm. The third little pig took into account things that could possibly happen and decided to build a house that could pretty much withstand any bad weather and intruders. He came up with a solid plan for future protection.
  5. Learn to expect the unexpected – Obviously the first two pigs were not expecting the need to ward off the big bad wolf. Chances are they would have been considerably more concerned about safety in building their homes, if they thought a predator would come calling. The third pig seemed to take all things into consideration in his choice of building materials. He was prepared when the unexpected happened.
  6. Know your limitations – The big bad wolf felt that he was invincible. He easily blew down the house of straw, and the house of sticks, though a little harder to blow down, was still no match for his lungs. When he came to the house of bricks, he still felt that he was able to be successful, yet he was not. He didn’t assess the situation very well, and therefore, used unnecessary breath on trying to do the impossible.
  7. Going after the wrong thing can get you into hot water – The wolf pursued the three pigs even though he wore himself out trying to blow down the house of bricks. He should have taken the hint that these pigs were off limits. He would have been much better off seeking easier prey. Instead, he continued his pursuit which landed him in hot water, or hot oil, depending on which version you read. Sometimes it’s worth pursuing a goal; sometimes you need to be willing to let it go.
  8. Be willing to help your siblings – In the less violent versions, the little pig with the brick house could have been mean to his brothers and let them fend for themselves against the wolf, but when they came to him for help, he let them in and gave them sanctuary.
  9. A little extra work is worth the sacrifice – The first two pigs were more interested in playing around and having fun than making sure they had safe, sturdy homes. Had they been willing to put in some elbow grease and quality time, they would have had nice safe homes and still had a chance to enjoy a life of leisure afterwards.
  10. Don’t be fooled by people who would lead you astray – Some versions have the wolf trying to trick the last pig out of his home, since it won’t be blown down. But, with every suggestion the wolf makes to get the pig out, the pig outsmarts the wolf. Kids need to learn how to stay out of trouble and not be led into it by others.

There are several versions of this tale, some less violent than others. Whatever version you choose to share with your children, you will find many lessons that they can use to help them navigate the waters of childhood and beyond.