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When Was The Last Time You TOLD A Story?

Bedtime StoriesIt's bed time... you go upstairs to the bedroom with your child and watch or help as he/she gets ready for bed. Once they are nestled in, a typical next step is a bedtime story.

But how often have you told a story? Not read a story, but TOLD one from memory?

It's an interesting question and points to a fact that we have as a culture lost a significant amount of the "oral tradition" that dates back to the dawn of history. People have always told stories. In words, songs, poems, etc. It was long the role of the bard, the troubadour, the storyteller to relay those stories and tell the tales. It was that way for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

With the invention of the printing press, though, we started to write down those stories and capture them in "books". And that is a truly wonderful thing because it preserved so many of the stories that might otherwise have been lost to the ages.

But the other side of it is that it seems to me that in general we no longer tell but instead read stories.

I was certainly this way. "Pick out a book", I said to our daughters, "and I'll read it to you." And so I did and continue to do so to this day.

But I have also injected telling the occasional story. Just starting with basic timeless stories like "The Princess and the Frog", "Goldilocks", "Little Red Riding Hood", etc. It's been an interesting experiment, really. Partly to see if I can actually remember them (I can) and partly in how you express the story and make it fun and interesting.

As I started telling more stories, maybe 6 or 7 years ago, I found that like the storytellers of old I began to embellish and add to the stories as I told them. Each time it may be slightly different. (Although the girls sometime catch me on that and point it out!)

Over the years I've gone the next step of creating stories set in their own world with their own characters. The challenging part, of course, is when our 10-year-old wants me to tell our 3-yr-old one of those stories I made up and told her 5 or 6 years ago... and I hardly remember it! (The delightful part, though, was when the 10-yr-old recently made up such a story to tell the 3-yr-old!)

I have to say it's turned out to be something rather fun to do... and has been much enjoyed by our daughters.

When was the last time YOU told a story? To kids? To family? To friends? To an audience?

Image credit: claylarsen on Flickr

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