Family Tip: The Transforming Art of Catholic Storytelling
Nov 21, 2016 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. —Robert McKee
Benefits, Method, Preparation and Helpful Tips to become a good storyteller at home.
- Storytelling will unite the family and provide quality time with the children. It will make them love the storyteller. It will also help the children learn better and assimilate quicker.
- Stories will keep the TV, the Internet and Hollywood at bay. They will help children’s imagination grow and develop in a wholesome manner.
- The heroes of the Faith will come alive in children’s minds and become a point of reference.
- A good moral lesson taught through storytelling lays the foundation for solid Catholic knowledge and behavior in the future. Children will learn to distinguish Good from evil in the stories and thus do the same in real life as they grow older.
- Their innocent souls will further expand as they admire the beauty of creation. This admiration will help increase the Love of God in their souls.
Children love to be able to tell a good story. Storytelling will help children spread the Faith in their own way to their peers by passing on the stories.
- Keep the stories short and simple.
- Stories should be adapted to the audience and the age of the children.
- Choose the right moment. Before bed is an ideal time as children have hopefully expended their energy and will fall asleep thinking about the story.
- Eye contact is very important as well as a cozy atmosphere.
- Tell the story with a certain degree of passion. The storyteller’s conviction and passion will help inscribe the good story into the child’s memory and help children live the moral of the story.
- Choose a topic.
- Do a little bit of reading or research beforehand (10-15 minutes).
- Think and meditate about it. And literally ask the Divine Storyteller what He would say.
- Pray on it, so that every story told will be an instrument of God’s grace in children’s lives.
- Let your personality shine through. It will be the life-breath of the story that you tell.
- If you read a story, try to memorize parts of it…and tell those by heart. It allows you to have more eye contact with your audience and to use more body language. (more than 50% of all communication is non-verbal)
- Describe the characters in the setting of your story. Introduce them and talk about them just as you would introduce and talk about a living person.Catholic Storytelling - image 2
- Remember the details. Describe them with enthusiasm to stimulate the senses. With your words, your eyes, your facial expressions, your tone of voice and your gestures make your audience feel the rain, hear the trumpets sound, see Our Lord as He calms the wind and the waves, smell the flowers across the plains, and allow them to taste the manna from Heaven.
- Highlight Beauty. It cultivates and nourishes the sense of wonder in a child. Children are naturally attracted to beauty and it nourishes their innocence and leads them to the Truth.
- Do not rush the story….If it will not all fit into the allotted time that works for the family schedule, then use that wonderful tool to keep everyone on the edge of their seat: To Be Continued….Make sure that you stop at an exciting or key point in your story.
- Variety is the spice of life. The same applies to storytelling. Let your stories be varied. Some about the Faith, some about the of lives of saints, some about heroism, some about good manners, some about adventures, some about dignity, some about trips and travels, some about professions like doctors or nurses or bakers or candlestick makers. Let your stories be as varied as life itself. This will convey valuable lessons to young listeners and help prepare them for the many situations they will face in their own lives.
- Remember to use your stories to pass on family history and traditions.
And never forget that children of all ages (whether 1 or 100) love a good story. And children are eagerly waiting to hear yours…
A few extras:
Word of caution:
When choosing a time for stories, be careful and cautious, about storytelling at meal times. Meals are better suited to conversation and allowing children to interact with the rest of the family. Storytelling is about taking children on a marvelous journey, but one person will be doing most of the talking. Don’t let storytelling override the times devoted to developing the art of conversation in the home.
But what if I am not a good storyteller? Children will not care. They will appreciate and honor the time devoted to them. And storytelling like so many things in life is a matter of practice. The greater the number of stories, the better the storyteller.
But I am so busy and I have no time? Time is like every resource. We allocate it to the things that are of importance to us. If children are important to you, then you will shave a little time from your own activities and devote it to storytelling. The rewards will be priceless.
Helpful Suggestions and Ideas:
A good story can help to set the stage for the Family Rosary. A short story about one of the mysteries before the Rosary begins will engage children’s attention, provide them with material for thought and meditation, and make them look forward to the next story (and Rosary).
Stories provide a completely understandable reason to ask that all electronic devices be switched off or put on silent. With time and more stories, children will not want the story interrupted. Eventually, they will take the initiative to turn off the distractions.
Once the habit of storytelling is established in your home, once in a while, maybe once a week, let one of the children tell a story. A different child could then tell a story each week. This way, the children will become storytellers themselves. An art that will serve them well throughout their own lives.
A Starting Point:
Reading list from Family Tip #8 - The Power of A Good Book
Family Tip: Saintly Role Models
Family Tip 16: Do we give our children the chance to really get to know the saints and choose them as mentors?
Family Tip: The Power of a Good Book
Family Tip 8: All the buzz and commotion of technology seeks to stifle its ancient predecessor: the book. The empty chair in the library is producing increasingly more empty minds and the world is not a better place for it.