I’m assuming if you are here reading these words then you LOVE stories. Guess what? Me too!!! It is important before we embark on or storytelling venture that we think about our big “Why.” Why do it? What is our message? Who is our audience? Why tell this story? Set goals and intentions for yourself that go beyond writing words on a page…
Whether you are a parent, an educator or just a lover of language, storytelling is a great way to convey a powerful message in a simple form. You can take a theme or lesson and create a dynamic narrative that will leave a lasting impression on your audience!
Stories teach us about the world
Think about your favorite books as a child. What were they about? Did they ignite any passions or interests that you have carried beyond childhood and into adulthood?
For me, I just had so many favorite childhood books that it is safe to say that if you asked me what my favorite book was I would probably reply with whatever title was in front of me at that time. But one book, in particular, stands out to me. It is the classic Miss Rumphius (The Lupine Lady) by Barbara Cooney. I grew up in Maine and every June I would see lupines blossoming on the side every country road we drove along. After reading Miss Rumphius I would never quite see those lupines the same again. I would always think of the story behind those lovely plants. Who put the seeds in the ground? How long have they been there? Did someone plant them to make the world a more beautiful place like Miss Rumphius? This book imprinted on me. It gave me glimpses of history and far away places and fostered a love of plants that has stayed with me throughout my life.
Stories allow us to bond and feel empathy towards one another
Is there anything more comforting than the thought of sitting on grandma’s lap and having a book being read to you? Even if I were to fly all over the world and go luxurious spas and retreats but I can’t think of a more calming or relaxing feeling than sitting in on my Nana’s lap under the glow of a lantern, wrapped in a blanket and hearing her soft words as my tired eyes dreamily gaze at the pages of a storybook. I wish I could go back…
Stories give us a glimpse into the minds of other characters and therefore teach us to think from other’s perspectives. A good story has well-rounded protagonists and memorable antagonists. When I think about the Berenstain Bear books, I fondly remember them as light and fun childhood entertainment. But now I can look back and see what great tools these stories were for teaching relationship lessons. Especially how to navigate complex sibling and family dynamics.
Stories have the power to transport us to exciting new places:
Some of my earliest memories are of Winne the Pooh. Those stories came alive to me. My own backyard felt like the Hundred Acre Wood. I would build secret forts and collect all kinds of treasures. My brother and I would play “Pooh Sticks” where we would throw a stick into a brook then race to the other side of the culvert to see who’s came out first. So much of our childhood play, our lands of make-believe can come from great stories.
So before you begin writing… take a step back and think about your why. You only have so much time on this earth, to share love, to share ideas, so make something beautiful.