Storytelling is one of the oldest arts in human history. The images of drawings inside caves show us even the earliest people described their lives and shared their history through story. Stories have the ability to teach lessons and morals, provide a distraction during a difficult time, and transport us to times and places we could never travel to. Even the Bible uses storytelling as the means to tell us God’s plan for salvation and His unending love for his people.
Sarah Clarkson, in her book “Caught up in a story” describes how her parents tried to pass on their love for story to her and her siblings.
“You can be like Aragorn or Frodo or Sam in the battles of the world, you can bring beauty like Jared (in The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates), or discover something new like George Washington Carver. What kind of hero do you want to be?”
I love that quote and the idea that stories can form us into who God desires us to be. By consuming good books, and witnessing how characters encountered hardship, trials, betrays, and even times of joy, we are equipping ourselves to know how to act when we encounter similar troubles in our real lives.
Clarkson goes on:
“Terms such as “courage,” “kindness,” “good,” “evil,” or “heroic” are abstract concepts for a child. In order to learn what it means to be “good,” a child needs to be shown, not merely told. In all honesty, I think that is true of the human race, adults as well as children.”
It happens almost on a daily basis that my children and I will refer to a book or character during our normal daily routines. “Don’t stand on the table or you will be like Humpty Dumpty!” Rather than droning on in a moralizing lecture, I can simple ask them, “Do you remember what happened to Edmund when he was greedy? Do you want to go see the White Witch?” My kids respond really well to this type of correction and reminders.
As a child I would read for hours. I started a journal in 1997, keeping track of each book I completed (I was in fourth grade). When I flip through the pages of my 4th grade penmanship with glittery gel pens (do you remember that ’90s trend?) I can almost feel my emotions of being a 10 year old. I remember picking certain books out at the library, or finding it on my parent’s bookshelves. The years and pages go on and on, and the reading quantity ebbs and flows- slowing down particularly during college and early motherhood- but the act of finishing a book isn’t complete without writing the title and author in my book journal and detailing what I’ve read.
Now that I have children, books have continued to be a large part of our lives. I may not be able to play imaginative games like dress-up or kitchen for hours on end, but I can sit and read and read and read. Sharing the love of books with my children has been one of the highlights of my children growing older- I can’t wait to share with them the beauty and goodness in the world through the power of story.
On this blog, I plan to share reviews of my favorite books, book lists that we love and maybe didn’t love so much. I challenge you to view books in this way; as a tool to expand you and your family’s world and see how your love for books can transform your life.