|My father holding me. He is the subject of many stories.|
“Tell me a story.” How do you respond to that request? Some people reach for the bookshelf every time. Some people are storytellers and enjoy making up scenes & characters with young children. They start with “Once upon a time…” and spin fantastic tales of adventures and heroes. I have always enjoyed telling stories from the past – my past and my family’s past. I want the people who I loved as a child to come to life for my children. The Hebrew phrase l’dor vador – from generation to generation – is the theme of much of my storytelling as a parent.
Soon, my family will celebrate Passover. We will tell two stories. We tell them every year. We will tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt when Moses led the Jewish people from slavery to freedom. We will tell the story of my Aunt Fay who always yelled, “Hurry up. The turkey is drying out” from the kitchen as we prayed. We will sing the songs of the holiday as we recall the story of my grandmother singing in her rather deep, smoker’s voice. We will hide a piece of matzah for the children to find as we talk about when we were young and competed with a table full of cousins to find it.
“Tell me a story.” I will fire their imaginations as they try to picture their mother as a little girl. I will tell them of a time before cell phones and DVRs and video games. They will learn about carrying a dime in our pockets for the payphone and about running home to see a TV show because there was no recording it to watch it later. That world is as foreign and magical to them as anything that an author or moviemaker can create.
Sometimes at the end of the day, it feels like it takes too much energy to make up a story. You don’t need to make one up. You know the stories of your past. Your family or friends are the characters. You lived through the settings. Once upon a time, there were people who were funny. There was a place you loved to go. Once upon a time, you had a dream. You are your children’s hero already just because you are the most important person in their life. Take the time to tell your oral history. Those stories may become your children's favorites.
For more information, click on these titles: "Caring for Traditions & Memories" and "Treasuring Time Off with the Kids"
Read my articles in “The Shriver Report”: "Stress in the Family: Helping Our Children to Cope" ; "From Working Mom to Working Woman: The Opportunity of the Empty Nest""Family Finances: Tips To Teaching Your Kids About Money"
Read this blog for more articles. Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators on my website - Helping Kids Achieve
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