The value of conscious storytelling in our children's lives cannot be over-advocated.
The books we read to them, the books we have available for them to read, and the stories we tell them can provide examples to emulate and embody. They can impart archetypes of courage, creativity, resilience, ingenuity, and self-sufficiency. Conscious storytelling supports one of the objectives in our desire to parent consciously, which is to raise children who are self-actualized.
Self-actualization, according to (and I think coined by) the late eminent psychologist and researcher, Abraham Maslow, is the top of the pyramid in the hierarchy which describes the needs of fulfilled human beings. Self-actualized individuals are able to "travel a path called growth motivation".
As a child, my mother, who wouldn't have understood the notion of conscious storytelling (!), would, nevertheless, take my four siblings and me to the local library each week to stock up on reading material for the upcoming week (we were raised in a home that didn't possess a TV, so reading was the major component of keeping her kids occupied). I sought out and borrowed every single book of fairy tales in the library's collection (the red book, the blue book, the green book…), as well as all the books of myths. I also loved reading the Old Testament stories. I read voraciously, sneaking my books under the covers at night when I was supposed to be sleeping! The themes became an integral part of my cellular memory, breathing into my biochemistry and my soul through the years! We can by bringing our awareness to our storytelling present this nourishment to our children.
The Harry Potter phenomenon in our kids' time illustrates just how much archetypes in mythology resonate with kids and adults alike and how we yearn for and are so satisfied by conscious storytelling. Knowingly or unknowingly, author JK Rowlings has mastered this art.
By embracing conscious storytelling, we recognize the stories offer our children and us a way of understanding ourselves. They touch something deep within the psyche that may stay in hiding if addressed head-on through a literal presentation versus through the imaginative portal.
I read the first several of the Harry Potter books out loud to my kids. As they became proficient readers, they then began to read them on their own. But I always read each character's dialogue giving them their own unique voice which I have observed increases the impact of conscious storytelling.
My kids enjoyed the added theatrics and would find it humorous when I had a tricky time of recalling and then dropping into the character's particular voice.
I highly recommend reading to your children. When they are young pre-readers, this is an obvious suggestion, but as they grow older they continue to desire being read to. It is a sweet bonding experience for both mother and child. Other notable titles I read to them included the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little…The magic of books!
A big cat saw a little cat chasing its tail and asked, 'Why are you chasing your tail so?'
Said the kitten, 'I have learned that the best thing for a cat is happiness and that happiness is in my tail.
Therefore I am chasing it, and when I catch it, I shall have happiness.'
Said the old cat, 'My son, I too, have paid attention to the problems of the universe. I, too, have judged that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that whenever I chase after it, it keeps running away from me, and when I go about my business it just seems to come after me wherever I go.'
--Fable by C.L. James 'On Happiness'
My daughter loves this beautiful little fable! It makes you rethink the idea of 'pursuit of happiness', doesn't it? We can model for our children how to be happy, how to cultivate in ourselves our own essence of happiness. But this is a great example of storytelling that imparts this mega life lesson...
Chasing after happiness only sends a message to our subconscious and the Universe that happiness is 'out there' instead of 'in here', right now, in this moment. Conscious storytelling can impart the message to our kids how to thrive rather than strive. This story is a perfect example of conscious storytelling as it provides a way to communicate this idea to our kids in a way that allows them to take it in at a deeper level than if you were to only expound upon this explicitly.
This is how the great myths and fables speak to us, on a subliminal level where it can be assimilated with profound benefit. The stories we tell our kids have lessons, morals which will empower them.
"Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?" ~ Samuel Johnson
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While not always being able to articulate my intention to see the importance of conscious storytelling, I have enjoyed telling and reading stories or fables to my kids that have upbeat, inspiring, thinking 'outside the box' messages.
One book that I have loved and they have requested repeated readings from is 'Frederick's Fables' by Leo Lionni. If I was told that I had to pack up the minimum of my belongings and go live on a desert island with my kids no matter what age they were at the time, I would pack this book! The stories are quirky but uncomplicated, charming, and graceful. This book is the epitome of conscious storytelling. Also, the book could be enjoyed just for the artwork alone.
I recently read from the book to an energetic eight-year-old lass, hoping to give my daughter a few minutes break from her babysitting duties for the evening. I read only one story, pretty short and simple...she was hooked! Read more, read more, she implored. Yep, this book is definitely a keeper...in your conscious storytelling library.
To demonstrate an example of conscious storytelling, my mother-in-law quite a few years ago reminded me of a childhood story about the mouse who had to feed her family peas and beans. She could only carry one pea at a time, so was making trips back and forth. In an extrapolation of the story, in my mother-in-law's version portrayed the mouse instead of being intimidated by all of the peas and beans it would take to feed her family and thinking she had to move the whole mountain,
just started with one pea in her mouth and transferred it home to feed her children. One pea at a time and her babies were fed. She refused to be distracted from her mission.
This story has bolstered me often as I look at the sometimes overwhelming circumstances of life. I tell myself 'one pea at a time' and my kids hear this refrain frequently. The object is to take the next step.
This mouse and the pea vignette is actually a very small part of The Tale of Peter Rabbit but excerpted and embellished it packs a powerful punch when sculpted via the artistry of conscious storytelling. I have included it here (with a touch of my own artistry!) for you and your children...Enjoy the character we can all relate to--rebellious, intrepid Peter Rabbit!!
To continue a little bit on this tangent(!), other quotes that can help us and our children with finding an optimistic perspective...
You eat an elephant one bite at a time. ("Who would and why would anyone want to eat an elephant?")
A journey of ten thousand miles starts with the first step.
Definition of success: the progressive day by day realization of goals that are worthwhile to the individual.
It may seem that I have digressed onto another topic(!), but it illustrates the application of conscious storytelling. The message for our children and for ourselves: if there is a project that excites you but which seems when you are trying to look at the forest (the overall picture), because of all the trees (the details) you lose your heart, you know, you can't see the forest for the trees, ask yourself what is one action step I can take today. I'll deal with this one tree. Then tomorrow I'll visit the next tree. Before you know it you conquer the forest. This is just one example of how conscious storytelling can garner the nuggets that can give meaning and be incorporated into the lives of our children and ourselves.
Happy Conscious Storytelling!! Peace and Blessings!
Stories For Kids With A Moral. Teach Your Kids Life's Values Through The Stories Of This EBook
Site updated January 20, 2021
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