Family Resources – Story
by Fiona Heath
Our Unitarian Universalist principles tell us that each and every person is important and that we should accept one another and keep on learning together. One of the ways we do that is by telling each other our stories. When we can share our stories with each other we can grow and learn together.
“Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination. An interactive process involving the teller who shares the tale, and the listeners who let their imaginations take over. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values.” Storyteller.net
“Because there is a natural storytelling urge and ability in all human beings, even just a little nurturing of this impulse can bring about astonishing and delightful results.” Nancy Mellon, The Art of Storytelling
We use stories to pass on accumulated wisdom, beliefs, and values. Through stories, we explain how things are, why they are, and our role and purpose. Stories are the building blocks of knowledge, the foundation of memory and learning. Stories connect us with our humanness and link past, present, and future by teaching us to anticipate the possible consequences of our actions.
What can storytelling do for children (and also for adults!)?
Traditional stories are still very relevant to our lives. They remind us of our history and heritage and often carry universal life messages that have stood the test of time.
Children listen to stories, identifying with the characters’ experiences and feelings. This helps them understand their own fears, emotions, and feelings. Some stories introduce ethics and values and expand children’s understanding of the world. Many times, stories let children appreciate their own cultures and those of others. They learn the ways the world changes and the way the nature of human experience remains constant. It gives children a wide range of possibilities upon which to draw when dealing with life events.
Your children do not care about the literary quality of your stories—they just love to hear them. Tell your children all kinds of stories – including ones that parallel their own life experiences. These stories will help them process feelings, sort out challenges, and guide their behavior. Tell them stories about yourself as a child … they love to hear about us as children. Tell stories in the car or when you are waiting, or when your child just needs attention. In addition, stories give children the opportunity to create their own inner pictures, which build a foundation for thinking outside the box. Outside-the-box thinking is what our children need to meet the world they will navigate as adults.
Perhaps most importantly, tell stories for the pleasure and joy of sharing experiences that will build memories that will last a lifetime.
“The telling and hearing of stories is a bonding ritual that breaks through illusions of separateness and activates a deep sense of our collective interdependence.” Annette Simmons
Bonnie Romanow, BA, is a parent educator and early childhood mental health consultant at Parents Place.
How many of you have had writer’s block? From time to time, right? Well, Ralph seems to have been born with it. No matter what he does, Ralph can’t think of any stories to write during language arts time. He is surprised to learn that his classmate Daisy has written so many stories she cannot staple them–stories about him! Finally when he is cornered he tells how he once saw an inchworm at the park, and his classmates questions help him to realize there really was a story there. The cartoon like illustrations created with watercolor and colored pencil are appealing and expressive.
The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where that first little girl is now a grandmother.
In simple words and radiant collages, Debra Frasier celebrates the natural miracles of the earth and extends an exuberant welcome to each member of our human family. Accompanied by a detailed glossary explaining such natural phenomena as gravity, tides, and migration, this is an unforgettable book. “A book filled with reverence for the natural order of the world and the place of the individual in it.” School Library Journal
Telling Stories with Children – a helpful video from Australia about the importance of parents telling stories to their children.
How to Make Story Stones – a way to engage children through tactile storytelling
Check out the Story Media Resources for a video about children’s stories and empathy.
October 01, 2019
October 01, 2019
October 01, 2019