I’m not sure I remember when I started telling stories. At first, my children started asking me about what happened to me when I was little. I suspected they were looking for stories of how I handled things or what might possibly be coming next for them. They couldn’t get enough of my childhood and I couldn’t remember enough. Most people who came near got the childhood story request as well.
I always enjoyed my father-in-law’s stories. He could tell some wild ones about a 12-foot half-man-half-chicken beast who looked terrible, but was really quite gentle. He lived under creek bridges and was responsible for much of what’s taken place in modern history. These were seriously creative and very outlandish. I certainly enjoyed them. No matter where he was, he could just go on about this chicken man beast.
I’ve always known about the importance of story telling with children. I held myself back for a while, but as my children’s behaviors began to ask for what the limits were or how to integrate into a new activity, the stories just started coming.
The first epic was when my girls started hounding me for barbie dolls. There was no way in Helo that I was going to let those infernal creations into our house. I started into a story about a big ugly green troll who made plastic dolls (which had less than honorable properties) and brought them into a town in order to sway the children from the good words of their parents and the good ol’ trusted toymaker who used natural materials. In the end (of the first chapter), the troll was found to be up to no good and the old toymaker convinced the towns people to give the troll a chance to put his toy making skills to good. He ended up carving wooden horses for the children. This proceeded on to larger horses that the children could ride on, and thus, the rocking horse. The troll found he felt much better doing good for the children of the town than being less than honorable. This story ended up going on for about 20 chapters.
Now, it’s easy to tell stories. Often when there’s an ideal to aspire to or a behavior to correct or a activity to begin, I can whip up a story and the girls hang on every word.