Isn’t it about time to bring storytelling back into our lives?
A couple months ago I watched a free webinar on the lost art of storytelling and was inspired to increase the amount of storytelling that takes place in our home.
It occurred to me that I could use the storytelling tactic to increase our family’s enthusiasm for family history work, improve our public speaking skills, and practice hospitality all at the same time.
My husband and I immediately set to work telling our children stories about their ancestors. We pulled out the family histories and family photos, which had been packed safely away, and started going through them.
Who knew how engaged our five-year-old son would be with his great-grandfather’s first-hand account of a shipwreck at sea?
Or how hard he and his sisters would laugh when they learned that a great-aunt had accidentally fallen out of a bathroom window while searching for her shoes, landing smack dab in the middle of a trash can outside?
The shocked look on their faces when they learned that their sweet, feminine grandma used to hang from the trestle beneath a passing train, legs swinging in midair, was priceless. “Oh my goodness!” their eyes seemed to say.
Now that we had the kids’ full attention, we encouraged them to choose a story and prepare to share it with the small group of people we would be inviting into our home the following week. They each chose a story and practiced telling it until they had all the details down. My husband and I chose a story, too.
The following Sunday evening our living room was filled with guests who were excited to hear our stories and anxious to share their own. For the next few hours, we laughed and cried and looked incredulously at one another as one story after another was shared. We enjoyed simple refreshments, lively conversation, and a new connection with one another.
In the end, my children were able to practice their public speaking skills. But, infinitely more important, they experienced the joy that comes from learning about their ancestors, and the gratification and connection that comes from opening your heart and home to others.
“That was so much fun!” my kids shouted, almost in unison, as we headed to bed for the night.
“Well, pick out another story to tell,” I quickly replied, “because we’ll be doing this again soon!”
Day 17 Challenge: Now it’s your turn! Learn about an ancestor by talking with family members or by visiting ancestry.com or familysearch.org. Share the stories you learn with your family.
This is Day 17 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days to an Authentic Life.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click HERE.