Next to modeling, stories are perhaps the most powerful tool we can offer our kids to learn the big ideas in life.
When do you listen best? When someone tells you what you should do? Or when someone shares an experience (or story) with you?
Stories is the way to go! That’s why I am so passionate about them.
Through stories we activate the creative side of the brain, the home to our imaginations.
Stephen Spitalmy in his excerpt on “what is a story” shares that “Through hearing and digesting stories our heart and brain can learn to work together and we can become fully integrated human beings.”
It is our heart that determines the truths in life and that is what we need to connect to.
Children listen to stories with all of their senses. They are fully present. When we lecture or tell them what to do or not to do - they are no longer fully present because their guard and defenses are up.
Here’s an example of how a story may help.
Our daughter recently shared that when she proudly spoke to her friends about her brother, they laughed as soon as they heard his name. She said this made her feel bad and that she thinks we should change his name.
This is actually a personal trigger for me because I was made fun of most of childhood because of my unique name that’s hard to pronounce and spell. So I didn’t really have much to say here.
I shared this with my husband and he decided to share a story with her the next morning on their drive to school.
He shared Oprah Winfrey’s story, about how people made fun of her name throughout her childhood but she never changed her name and now everyone in the world knows who she is and that name is looked upon with so much admiration and inspiration.
Here’s the key thing though: he didn’t connect the dots for her. He just shared the story. This is not always the rule to follow in everything but when it comes to something that may feel like a fresh wound to them, it is best to just share the story. Why?
Because she will eventually make the connection herself. And that’s when it will be her own Truth. Making their own connections - that’s when the magic happens!
I can’t tell you how many times I have told children (including my own) to do or say something and it is as if I never even said it. But as soon as I make it less personal and instead share a story with a similar message, either a true story or one I made up, BOOM! They are instantly doing it or saying it or seeing it :)
Some of my favorite stories that I have made up for my daughter are one about Mr. Potato Head who learned to take a deep breath whenever he got mad. This was to help her finally start doing it herself.
And when my daughter stopped going to the pool because she’s afraid of bees, I made up a story about a little girl who saved Little Uncle Bee while he was drowning in the pool and that because of her kindness, now the bees make sure to come visit her garden every day so more flowers can grow as a way to say thank you.
These are also some of her favorite stories that she asks me to tell her again and again. And I am just delighted to slowly share them with you here on these blogs. Hope they bring joy and delight for you and your little ones.