Nervous, yes nervous. I enter a class of fourth graders on a Monday morning at 10 am to read them a story and have an open discussion with them. The thought was torturing me from the previous day. Now I understood why I was getting butterflies in my stomach all day. Well yes I was fasting (karwa chauth a festival where women fast for their husbands), but I guess the real reason was in anticipating those 24 pairs of eyes who would be staring at me for nearly 40 minutes. How will I read? Will I be able to read at all? Will I be judged, what kind of questions will I be asked? Will the children like it? What should I wear? How should I conduct the entire 40 minutes given to me?
Anyways, I enter the class with just these thoughts in mind. “Grab the opportunity and make the most of it. Anticipate nothing and treat each one with utmost respect and humility.“ well these were passed on to me by a very special teacher to me on Friday last when I told her about the story telling session. I took some deep breaths and began the session. Sparsh was taken by surprise; he was finding it difficult to introduce me to his class, as he was extremely excited.
I read the story titled “A Helping Hand “by Payal Dhar. It is written in form of letters which the author writes to herself talking about friendship and touching on the sensitive issue of disability. When I selected this story my husband commented “It might be too heavy for the kids”. But to my amazement they all displayed complete understanding and actively participated in the discussion we had after the story was over. They enjoyed the little quiz we had on the topic before closing the session and requested me to visit again with another interesting thought to share.
As kids we have all heard stories popularly called “Dadima ki kahaniya” (stories from grandmothers) and I am sure you have loved them as much as I did. Storytelling has been and will continue to be a predominant aspect of childhood and we have all grown up with them, never failing to share them with our young ones as and when time permits. Today when I think about stories these thoughts come rushing to me:
- Stories connect us with our family, culture, traditions and values. It helps in developing families. When I hear stories about my parents from my respective grand moms, it helps me understand them better. Why they have certain reservations and why they react to them even today. Does this not help in building bonds. From a legacy perspective, we tell our stories for ourselves and as a gift to future generations. They connect the past and present to the future.
- Not every story has a happy ending, right? They are very important in developing Emotional Intelligence. As I have said earlier also EQ rates higher than IQ. It is extremely important to have a sound EQ in order to live happy and successful. Stories help in making children into nice adults.
- Stories trigger thought process. It builds curiosity, anticipation and excitement. When I tell a story to my kids, I make it a point to stop before the climax. This gets them into thinking mode and they start guessing what the climax and end would be. And to my amazement some endings suggested by them were worth listening to and often better than the original itself. Stories fuel imaginations and thinking happens.
- Have you ever found it difficult to talk with a child? Begin with a story and see how easily they befriend you. It is a sure shot ice breaker and always leaves behind pleasant memories.
- Stories act as value adding service providers to our mechanized life styles. A concept explained in the form of stories whether fiction or nonfiction helps in enforcement of its value. I do this with my kids and believe me the made up stories works wonders here.
- Stories encourages quest for knowledge and thus begins the journey into books and reading happens. The more we read the more we know .It improves vocabulary and is instrumental in the mental development of a child. It improves IQ, builds confidence and adds to the phonetic development from an early age.
- Stories solve complex problems in simple innovative methods. Making it fun for the reader and the read. Develops problem solving and strategy thinking Stories help to explore possibilities. Remember tales from Akbar-Birbal, Tenali Rama and Chanakya?
- Reading a story book also relieves stress which is the deadliest disease of recent times. Reading reduces stress and relaxes the mind. It makes the mind wonder to untraveled lands, experience the inexperienced and lets you play your dream role. Thus making you happy.
- Stories inspire. Don’t we read success stories of accomplished people and get inspired by them? It helps to motivate the mind, triggers action and results follow. Non fictions and documentaries fall into this category and are often referred by you and me.
- We often hear of thinking outside the box, well stories trigger this. Thinking outside a story and relating it into practical life experiences make better humans. Stories have helped me spend quality time with my children. It inculcates the habit of listening. Thinking before talking is also a result of active story telling.
- Apart from this storytelling and story writing are bread and butter professions for many. Cinema, advertisements, TV, theatre and plays are all products of effective storytelling, Right! What else can one ask for?
Before closing I would highly recommend all to watch a story titled “The girl who hated books” on you tube and open yourself to a new world of learning. My kids loved it and so did I. Also please add storytelling and story writing like vitamins to your life. Very rightly said in Indian cinema “The show must go on “
Please feel free to share your favourite story/stories with me. I will be looking forward to them.
Happiness and sunshine 🙂