He was blind. He was partially lame. He was weak in body. In most people’s opinions, he didn’t have much to offer in the way of active living. That is unless you sat with him, then the true treasure of the last years of his life came alive. My children would crawl up in his lap and say the magic words, “Granddad Hall, tell me a story.”
And he did. Story after story, he gave his undivided and rapt attention to those little ones that sat with him. He declared their importance through his exciting account of life as a young boy in the hills of Virginia, teenage exploits, and then accompanied each story with the song lyrics from “the old days.” As he spoke and sang, the eyes of my little ones grew big, their laughter rang through the house, and their questions filled the air.
Grandad Hall was never in a hurry to finish a story and get back to his television programming.Granddad Hall never said no to a story or song request. Although he is gone now, his gift of storytelling lingers in my kids’ hearts to this day. His word gift was a simple story given willingly, lovingly, and unselfishly.
Storytelling is a powerful way to make a human connection. Consider the 27.2 billion dollars earned by publishing companies in 2011. People love stories and pay money to hear and read them! Narrative word gifts are wanted, not only that they are needed. Why? To remind us that today’s way life is not the same as when our parents were kids; it’s not how it’s going to be when our children are adults. Telling stories preserves our family history and experiences, and it also creates a personal connection with new generations.
Feel like telling stories aloud isn’t your gift? Then write it out. Now the receiver has a piece of family history in their hands. The details won’t be forgotten as they pass the story down to their kids.
In this moment here and now, stop and think. What’s one story from your younger days that you could share with a little one in your life? It doesn’t have to be funny; it doesn’t have to teach a lesson; it doesn’t even have to be true! It only has to cast you as the main character and have a beginning, middle, and end. The faces of your listeners will light up at the thought of a story with you as the hero. And if you’ll pay close attention as you narrate, you’ll see that their heart strings get tied a little tighter to yours.
What’s a story you remember being told as child? It could be a fairy tale or a family member’s childhood exploits? What made it so special?
(Site for Storytelling Help: Benefits of Storytelling)