My husband Doug wows the kids with his original bedtime stories. He always has a story line going on, with a made up cast of characters such as “The Mountain Family” or “The Island Family.” Each evening there’s a new installment with crazy adventures that sometimes don’t even make sense, especially when the storyteller nods off while his mouth is still moving.
My stories are just never quite that fun. I’m more pragmatic; I like to tell stories that teach a point. So when I start out with, "When I was a little girl..." the ceremonial moan arises from my troops. Someone will immediately respond, "Oh no! Here she goes again! Mom, ...you always tell us about when you were a little girl!"
I used to be hurt by their obvious disinterest in my memories. In fact, I felt downright mad that they were rejecting my motherly narratives. Until I made a humorous discovery. They may moan and they may complain, but actually my mother stories are weaving a place of importance in their hearts. How do I know? Because I’ve caught them repeating them to their friends!
"Well you know, when MY Mom was a little girl she tried to take advantage of her little sister, and her sister fell down the stairs and hit her head!!!
"Now when MY Mom was a little girl she was out camping with her mom and dad when a bear came into their camp!"
Family memories. Family heritages. Family learnings...family wisdom!
We have the opportunity to teach them by our own example. Even the examples that are filled with pain and failure. In this day and age when it seems that old-fashioned storytelling seems outdated, don't discount the impact of our own words sown into their young hearts.
We may not be as sophisticated as the slick video clip or as high energy as the phone game application. But our voices are more important than ever.
So even if you encounter some eye rolls or some groans, it is worth it to silence the technology and share the story. I guarantee they are listening!
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