“Tell me a story, mommy.” And so begins bedtime all over the world. While some parents may groan at the request as an excuse to delay bedtime, telling stories to children can bring many benefits to both parents and children. They can bring a sense of wonder to the world, encourage language and creativity, and build stronger family bonds. And telling stories can be fun!
The stories your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles told you growing up are a vivid and tangible part of your imagination. Were there fanciful tales of princes and princesses and dragons and lions? Or pirates sailing ships on wide oceans? Perhaps they told you about growing up in a small town or barrio where everyone knew everyone else’s business. Even today, you can probably close your eyes and see that princess fighting a dragon, or your tíos in the barrio playing fútbol with a makeshift ball, or smell the fresh-baked bialys fresh out of the oven. A good story evokes our senses–sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. A good story makes you feel what’s happening. A good book draws you in and drops you into the middle of a jungle, or a battlefield, or a magical land of make-believe. I remember being entranced by Alice in Wonderland growing up and the Wizard of Oz series (yes, it’s a series).
We tell stories for many reasons. Sometimes it’s to help our kids go to sleep peacefully.
And we love to listen to stories. Storytellers share traditions, entertain and teach us, and can give us a moral in their tales.
In these uncertain times, telling stories can be a diversion to the messy, chaotic, scary, upside-down, topsy-turvy, illogical world outside our doors.
Maybe it’s time for you to tell your story!
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