With some direction and the right tools, anyone can become an amazing storyteller. Even if you feel that you lack the imagination of the Brothers Grimm or find the dramatic finesse of Maya Angelou intimidating, consider that you may have what it takes to inspire with storytelling.
Before written word and books, our ancestors used stories to record history, teach, and communicate. Tales of magical lands long ago, fairies inhabiting hidden coves under our noses, and brave heroes rising above the enemies transport us to another place and inspire us to dream big. As parents, we have the privilege of passing on this tradition to our children.
Storytelling was first recorded in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago, and the tale of the notorious Sumerian king, Gilgamesh, was told before that. Ancient Greek theaters and the early Catholic Church carried on the art form, securing its rightful place in history.
Essentially, storytelling can seem like a lost art with a forgotten past, but it doesn’t have to be. Imagine how you felt hearing about Rapunzel and her long locks for the first time or a classic Aesop’s fable and the imagery it evoked. Didn’t your excitement grow as a child if your parents read, with enthusiasm, The Night Before Christmas?
It doesn’t take a professional to make your child’s eyes widen in amazement. You have the power to prompt a fit of giggles while establishing a worthwhile tradition in your family. The benefits for your children include enhanced oral language development, sequencing skills, creativity and imagination.
Storytelling is not a big ‘to do’ and doesn’t require much preparation. You don’t even have to use a book; simply recount beloved stories that your grandfather told you as you sat on his knee or share your favorite memories from the good ol’ days.
Allow your child’s imagination to flourish and be the lucky one to witness her adventure. And in your mind’s eye, remember the possibilities that flourished in your childhood because as you speak the words, you are giving the same gift to your child. Start out something like this, “Once upon a time…” and the rest will come to you.