For the past few years, one of my granddaughter’s favorite pastimes begins with something like: “What was your favorite birthday?” or “When were you ever afraid?” She loves stories about my life. I will admit, I have quite a few adventuresome tales, but so does everyone. Recently my son asked me to share with his oldest about a personal faith experience. I questioned the wisdom of that, but he assured me it would be good for him. I was amazed at the positive impact it had on my grandson. Our stories are powerful!
It is sad that I rarely find personal storytelling occurring in our modern homes. My plea for parents and grandparents is to intentionally use this valuable teaching tool because it has an eternal purpose. It is one thing to read stories of how God worked in the lives of the numerous Biblical personalities, but truly a deeper meaning for a child to hear how God changed your life.
God understands the value of storytelling as can be seen in Deuteronomy 6:20-25 when the answer to a child’s “why?” question was not answered with “because God said so,” but by telling the experienced story of God’s goodness and provision. Psalm 78 clearly gives God’s importance for telling stories to the next generation about the works of the Lord, “so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments” (78:6-7). That is eternally important!
What might be the reason it is not a part of the rhythm of your home?
Here are a few possibilities and responses:
- “I don’t have the time.” Realistically, time is a choice we make to fill as we choose.
- “My past is not a good one.” It then becomes a testimony to God’s redemptive grace.
- “I do not want my children to know my past.” The story is not primarily about you, but God in you. These are age-appropriate stories.
- “I don’t know what to tell.” Tell stories of joy, dreams, fear, funny situations, faith, family, etc.
Need some ideas for storytelling? (Choose age-appropriate stories.)
- Tell stories about times you were aware of God’s existence. (Nature, creation, answered prayers, how He helped you)
- Tell stories about the journey of your faith, baptism, commitment, etc.
- Tell stories about your family times: vacations, special events, faith, parents, siblings, etc.
- Tell stories about your journey to believe God really loved you, protected you, wanted you, etc.
- Tell stories of how you learned to read the Bible, worship, and pray.
- Tell stories about experiences when you realized God’s commandments were to protect you and not keep you from having fun.
- Tell stories of people in your church who loved, taught, played and prayed for you.
This summer would be a great time to start storytelling!
*** The Storied Family Workshop will be coming to Northside soon! Stay tuned for upcoming details.