“Hey Dad, can you tell me a story about when you were little?” In our home, or more accurately in our car, the above is generally code for “Hey Dad, I feel carsick and am about to de-sanitize the driver-side head rest.” Ah, parenthood.
Turns out that calming stories do occasionally come to the rescue. The idea for them came from my dad, a storyteller extraordinaire who for years calmed his overly energetic son at bedtime with stories of fishing, or family dachshunds hunting rodents, or rattlesnake-farming grandfathers I never had the chance to meet.
I have come to find storytelling to be nice way to share perspective with our little ones. Blessed with plenty, our little ones sometimes need some perspective as to what it’s like to have little or nothing. My wife and I both grew up with enough by any scale. However, childhood seems more upscale these days, and we both find that sharing our own childhood stories can make our current plenty seem more substantial to the girls. Our last home was a block from a homeless shelter whose soup kitchen waiting line wound down toward our block each evening. There and elsewhere, our girls have seen many with less than plenty. But sometimes it’s hard to really see what we don’t have context for, I guess.
Regardless of the message I intend to lace into a given story, I find that the girls take from it what they need. Calm, new vocabulary, giggles, the big idea, whatever. So be it. Storytelling has become a powerful teaching tool for us, whether or not we really know how to use it.
Speak to you soon,