Shorty Currie was a great storyteller. He told stories of growing up in southern Tennessee during the depression and his memories were rich. He told of the war, of work, of hunting, of sadness, of laughter. We laughed until our sides ached and until the tears rolled down our faces. And the one who laughed the hardest of all was Shorty Currie. Shorty was my dad.
One important way to communicate with children is through stories. Values and life lessons have always been passed on through stories. Mom tells about her favorite doll, dad shares a practical joke. Uncle Steve remembers the winter we all went sledding, he lost control, and everyone ended up in the creek.
Stories capture the emotions and connect us with our past. Our kids need this today. David Walsh says, that the ones who tell the stories shape the culture. Unfortunately, we let Hollywood tell the stories far too often. Your kids are interested in your stories simply because they are yours and in a very real sense theirs, too.
Stories have a power to help kids make right choices. In stories, they see others make mistakes and they learn. Whenever we would use a knife, my dad would tell this army story.
When they landed in the Phillipines during WW II, one of his buddies decided to open a coconut with a bayonet blade. He called to Shorty, “Hey, Currie, you silly old fool, do you want a piece of coconut?” My dad laughed, refused, and passed the tent. The same guy then yelled, “Currie, get the medico!” He had placed the coconut between his legs and tried to cut it open, the blade slipped, severing the artery in his leg. In less than a minute, he was gone.
Do you think this caused me to be careful with a knife? You bet it did.
Our best movie screen is our God-given imagination. We have a great opportunity to help our children develop this gift. Just try. Begin. Choose some stories to tell. Make yourself a note or two so that you do not forget. I think you will be surprised at the results.
When our children were small, Patricia made up stories about a little monkey named “Pickety-Pockety.” She used this imaginary character to teach the consequences of bad choices. She didn’t have to preach because she captured them with a story. Then when we read the Bible, the kids would often make the connection.
Stories help us pass on values and principles “under the table” so to speak. It’s not didactic. It flows. It’s interesting. It’s worth the effort. Telling stories is one way to enable your children to think ahead. You are equipping them for life with stories.
SHAPE THE CULTURE; TELL A STORY!