Telling meaningful stories can make all the difference

Telling meaningful stories can make all the difference

By KORAL DASGUPTA | | 30 April, 2016
The best way to tell a story is to create the ambiance first.
Story-telling is a fantastic way to teach new values to our kids and enrich their inchoate minds. But it’s also important to make the stories as interactive, participatory and child-friendly as possible.

In our journey with our children, we often pick up wrong goals of parenting without realising that they would lead us or our kids nowhere. Those are rather the paths of convenience and we have to force ourselves to be more discreet. The most common misconception that many of us follow is that we burden our children with expectations of obedience! Obeying is not learning, commanding is not teaching. Period. Those are just a sadistic and myopic way to cast control over our children. But this is a common parental flaw with almost all of us. We believe that if our kids listens to us and follows our instructions, then he is a nice child. We don’t consider how we are curbing their creativity by trying to restrict them.

If we want our children to grow up with their natural talents and yet get disciplined in their regular life, then passing instructions won’t work. We have to try other means.

Story-telling is a fantastic way to tell them stuff without forcing things on their brains. Telling them a story works better than reading out a story. Reading books with illustrated pictures sends a clue to their brain and help them place the read out stuff in correlation with picturesque details. But when we tell them a story, their minds are forced to think what they are hearing and their own creative images are formed inside their brain. For example, when you are telling them the story of a dog, they create images in their minds and attribute the colour, texture and variety of the dog. They see their breed doing everything that you said as a part of your story.

Stories are the best way to teach virtues to our children and help them select the right path. Construct stories where the child can be put in as a character. The turns of the tale could show that he is kind, generous, brave, intelligent, respectful, and many other qualities that the child is expected to imbibe.

If the child is a little grown up, then he can be asked to say the story back to us after a while. This time she will take the outline of the story that you had narrated, and they will merge it with their imaginations. The new story that comes out of them will help you to locate how their fantasies have travelled, which part of the story they have put more importance on, and what that hints at their choices and personalities.

The best way to tell a story is to create the ambiance first. Lights must be turned off or dimmed, before we start. This further fuels their imaginations. Since they can’t see our faces clearly, our facial reactions can’t offer any support to the story and hence they are left with no other option but to see what they hear in their minds. Nothing beats the ritual of bed time stories. This is because, when we use stories as a tool to put our child to sleep, we are creating some live dreams, reinforcing them into their subconscious.

Stories are the best way to teach virtues to our children and help them select the right path. Construct stories where the child can be put in as a character. The turns of the tale could show that he is kind, generous, brave, intelligent, respectful, and many other qualities that the child is expected to imbibe. That gets him to think and follow. A story that shows them to be helping out the down-trodden would actually help him exhibit chivalry in his real life. Just think how we would feel if a newspaper or website publishes a story on our simple achievements. The child feels the same when they hear stories about themselves and are motivated to follow the same path.

Often the kind of lives we lead is far different from the life we want to lead. In between hectic schedules and high rise buildings, everything becomes a mechanical existence. In our own way, we have to help our kids to break free from that. Let them experience the beauty of life through stories on nature, about mountains and rivers and sea, the ripples created on water bodies by a stone’s throw, the echo in mountains, the sunrise and sunsets, the birds and animals. Through the stories, let them know that not everyone is blessed with lavish lives and have to struggle to source their meals. And the stories can also help them differentiate between good deeds and bad deeds.

Our Indian epics are excellent sources of stories, if they are interpreted appropriately to suit the little brains. Fairy tales are also beautiful stories with lots of moral teachings. Then there are Arabian Nights and Harry Potter and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. These books are replete with stories which can be told to our children, after they are moulded as per their age and preferences.

Let’s imbibe in our lives the power of story-telling. Stories that are positive and meaningful, stories that assure of goodness, stories that leave behind a nice feeling.

Happy parenting. Happy story-telling.

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