Since I was little, I was always in awe of people who could tell stories. I would listen to my uncles and my dad tell stories, and just light up. My mind would start racing and my imagination went wild.
As much as I listened to these stories, I never really picked up on HOW to tell them myself. I used to think it was a magical skill that only certain people had. I knew the basics, but somehow it took me until far later to realize how to tell them myself.
I am not sure how it happened, but one night, my daughter, who was three at the time, asked me to tell her a story at bed time. We had read books like we do all the time, but she said she wanted me to make one up.
I didn’t know what to story to tell her so on a whim I asked her for a title.
She said, “tell me the story of the Panda and the Crocodile.” I pondered for a moment and then began telling a story that started with “once upon a time.”
This went on for a week. Every night, she would give me a new title and I would make up a new story. Then came one night when I said, “now you tell me about the Horse who at a bee.” She paused for a moment as if to wonder if was serious.
And then magic happened. She began to tell her own story. The plot was strangely similar to the one I had just told, but it was coherent and well thought out. She introduced her characters, gave a bit of backstory, described the dilemma, and resolved the issue with a twist.
I was floored. She had not done this before. Was this just a natural skill? I have her some feedback on my favorite parts and her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. She was so proud.
This continued for several months and soon her twin sister and brother were all joining us.
We each gave a new title every night and floated into each other’s magical stories of dragons, unicorns, fish who sang, and bears that danced, and a cat that could fly. Each night giving each other feedback and new ideas for the next night.
This has honestly been one of my favorite memories with my children. It has also had a profound impact on their ability to be creative in the daytime, too. Their projects are more imaginative and questions are shocking at times.
When was the last time a four-year-old asked you “if babies come from mommies and mommies are babies first, how did the first person get here?” I almost choked on my eggs when that one came out at 8 am breakfast.
It is amazing how these five minutes have changed our lives, brought us closer, and ignited their imagination. Their confidence is improved and we are having fun at the same time.
What do you do with your family to expand their mind?
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Photo Credit: @picsea on Unsplash