Our scripture is mostly story form.
Our faith is narrative so it makes sense that our faith would be passed down narratively.
Here’s this reflection from Elaine Woods, our Children’s Minister:
I love a good story. I’m entranced when someone tells an interesting story about what happened to them. From the set up to the climatic conclusion, a good storyteller captures your full attention.
My grandmother loved to tell stories. Whenever I would stop by and visit her, she seemed to always have something to say. Whether it was about her garden or canning fruit, she made it sound interesting. She spoke in a causal, relaxed tone; never seemed to be in a hurry. I rarely felt that she was preaching to me or telling me what to do. And yet, I learned from her. To this day when I sew, I can hear my grandmother’s voice saying, “I like to make sure the inside seams are as pretty as the outside ones.”
With all the technology we use today, the art of storytelling is fading away.
No television, computer, ipad, or internet can replace the face to face, interaction of someone telling a story with gestures, facial expressions, and tone inflections. It’s an active communication between two people.
As a parent, I try to monitor how much time my children spend using media.
I must admit though, it’s usually the first thing they want to do after school, homework, or activities.
It’s such a temptation. And with our busy lifestyles, even parents succumb to going online far too often.
My daughters were recently getting ready for their Homecoming dance. As we were talking together, they asked me about my high school years. They wanted to know if I had homecoming dances at my school, and if I attended any of them. The conversation took a turn down memory lane for me as I shared about my high school dances and dates. I even pulled out my old photo album; the kind where the photos stick to the white pages with the “magnetic” plastic covering. I showed them the yellow stained pictures of me in my Gunne Sax dresses. We laughed hysterically. Afterwards they said, “Mom, I didn’t know any of this about you!”
What a wonderful opportunity we have as parents to share stories with our children.
No matter how many times they roll their eyes or poke fun, children are interested in their parents and want to get to know them.
Personalized stories can become a starting point for parents to share their faith. Something as simple as sharing whether or not you attended worship as a child and what that looked like.
Family gatherings at holidays, weddings, or funerals are also an opportunity to discuss faith with your children.
Keep in mind the more detail you go into, the better chance that your child will relate to parts of your story. These stories do not have to be elegant or something that happened long ago. If your faith is new to you, let your children know that. Their faith is still new to them, so they will enjoy knowing that they are not alone. As long as you are sharing about yourself, it will mean the world to them.
Stories brought to life are exciting. Just look at the bible. Stories of prophesy, murder, redemption, love, and forgiveness occur in the first book alone!
Sharing stories with our children allows them to see us as more than just “parents.”
They see us as people with our own experiences and feelings.
Inviting grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members to connect with our children through stories is invaluable. Children will learn they are part of a larger, grander story than just their own. Faith will become real to them as they see it through the eyes of family members.
Life is a gift from God. We have the opportunity to share this gift with our children through stories.