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Story Telling

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Nurse Reading to a Little Girl by Mary Cassatt One of the major avenues available to me to promote truth is through the day carecenter where I work. God has blessed me with the care of 250 children and their families,as well as the staff at the center. Because it is a public daycare, I have to be very carefulabout how I express "religion" although it's common knowledge to all who know me that Ilove God. I often express to children in groups and privately the simple concept that Godlives in each of us as a light to show the way.

Twice a week I read stories to a group of 30 or more children, ages 5 to 11. The day carehas a huge collection of excellent children's stories and we read them every afternoon atsnack time. Over the years I have learned that storytelling has more teaching impact onchildren than reading, so I decided to try it. As I sat down with a good story in my lap toread, it spontaneously occurred to me to recount one of my favorite stories from TheUrantia Book, the story of the first human family. I knew it well, having read it manytimes. At first I stumbled, but soon I was effortlessly telling the story of the first humans,even embellishing my familiar understanding of the story. What amazed me was therapt attention of every child listening, regardless of age. They wanted to know if thestory was true, and how long ago it happened. They asked questions like, "Were theyborn just like us?" "When did they become humans?" and "What made them different?"

The language of religious teachings has to be toned down for most children in order tohold their attention. If you have kids in the 5 to 11 age group, pick a meaningful storythat you like and know well, and then tell it on family meeting night, or before going tobed, or while driving in the car.

Jesus held the attention of children and adults alike by telling stories and parables; it isclearly a powerful teaching technique. Children, especially before adolescence, easilyforgive any bumbled attempts at trying something new.

A young adult once told me that the most powerful way in which her mother taught her about Godwas by telling stories while drawing out illustrations on a huge pad of paper. The poignancy andreality of emotion and concept which was portrayed in this way held this young person's mind andemotions throughout childhood. She believes that it played an essential part in her spiritualeducation.

More later…Sara

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