Storytime

26 Oct

I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told. – Mark Twain

Spending a majority of my time with toddlers, I’ve been reminded of the simple pleasures of storytelling.  Storytime can be anytime – and it’s always my favorite time with little ones. On Sunday mornings in the church nursery, I’ll often read book after book to giggly little boys and girls, each waiting patiently for their turn to pick out the story and sit on my lap. If that doesn’t make you feel pretty special, I don’t know what will.

Yesterday, a three-year-old told me that her books were for “bed times,” so no, we could not read them in the middle of a Monday afternoon. For many children, stories and sleep are one and the same. And maybe they’re on to something – it is a calming way to slow down and finish a busy day. When my brother and I were younger, we always read stories before going to sleep.  Perhaps, that is why I still read myself to sleep, often falling asleep with my book laid open on my belly.

To me, the quintessential children’s book is Goodnight Moon. During this past summer, I must have read it at least 100 times. I never get tired of the simple rhymes describing a bunny’s bedtime ritual of saying good night to the objects in his room. In fact, this story inspired one particularly adorable two-year-old to give good night kisses to the paintings, books and pillows in his New York City apartment. I believe that every child should have a copy of Goodnight Moon on his or her nightstand, ending each day by saying good night to two little kittens and a pair of mittens.

written by Margaret Wise Brown and published in 1947, Goodnight Moon remains popular today.

As an adult, I love hearing stories told by my parents and grandparents. Not only is it a link to their past, but it’s a link to my family’s legacy, a link to where we’ve been. Of all my relatives, Grandpa Baker loves to tell stories the most.  Not a phone call, family reunion or Christmas Eve goes by without one of his memories revealed. My favorite story that he tells is about meeting my grandmother in a haystack when they were children. Maybe true love is easier than finding a needle in a haystack.

For me, writing is a way to tell my story. Even if it never makes it beyond the pages of my journal and no one is listening or reading, it’s still being told. When I sit down to write, all the ideas bouncing around in my head become a bit more still, allowing life to make a bit more sense, even if only for a moment. Whether it be told pen to page or out loud, in many ways, storytelling helps to make yourself more understood, more connected to your world.

i've always loved a story before bedtime!

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