In another lifetime, I mean, during this lifetime but a long time ago, before we had kids and a mortgage, I was a storyteller. I told stories for audiences, around campfires, and at dinners. And I was pretty good; not the best, but getting some practice and finding some comfort in it. One question, however, kept coming to me- “How do you learn all these stories?”
I always replied that they could do it too. And in fact, they already had dozens of stories. They could tell me the Three Little Pigs, or Rapunzel, or Cinderella, Snow White — they could even tell me a synopsis of books they had read. They knew these stories. I think the hard part is actually believing in yourself enough to tell someone else the story.
My wife’s favorite memory of her grandfather is how he used to tell them stories; she and her sister would lie in bed and he’d tell them the story of two princesses (coincidentally named the same as the girls), and how they saved the kingdom. Or escaped in a hot air balloon. Or fell down a mountain. Sometimes I think about this as my daughter begs me to read her a book, tell her a story, and sing her a song before bedtime. I indulge her and let myself ramble on. My current favorite story to tell is pretty much a combination of Naoise and Deirdre and their elopement, and a story where the bride has three treasures to throw behind her, that create a forest, a lake and a mountain. It’s actually the original way I heard the Flight of Deirdre but I can’t find an example now.
Anyway; the point I’m leaning toward is that our kids crave stories. And we have them for only a short time where we can give them everything they want. They want adventure and magic, mystery, science, puzzles – all of that stuff. And I’ve been thinking of recording bedtime stories, not just for my kids but also for other kids as well. In fact, I was considering sort of a podcast. But then I started looking around, and there’s some already out there!
If you don’t believe you can tell your kids a bedtime story, maybe you could try one of these podcasts. Don’t sleep with the earbuds in, but play them on some speakers. You could listen in too- you never know what you’ll hear.