Growing up with stories

Continuing the series on books, reading and children, I thought the next post should be on the role of stories in a child’s life. The first part about the magic room in my grandparents’ house, can be read here.

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The secret of making children listen to stories is to start early. Don’t wait till you think they are old enough to understand them. Because by that time, they have seen stories and films on TV and other visual media and have turned sort of cynical, questioning the logic behind a talking sparrow or quarrelsome tiger. One can start as early as a year or less.

Remember the stories of the crows, sparrows, foxes and monkeys and moon that mothers and grandmother told little children while feeding them? Well, that is the beginning of storytelling. The first stories were always those of the animals and birds and nature around them. And these assumed friendly and identifiable forms to make them attractive to children. So the moon became chanda mama, the sparrow became chimni tai or kuruvi akka, the cat billi mausi, the bear bhalu mama and so on.

The moon was invited to come and eat a bite along with the child. Even the crow got invited and a pretend spoonful of food was given to the moon or the crow, and the leftover food was thrown to the street mongrel. I think this was a wonderful way of making children learn sharing of food and happy times with fellow creatures.

The stories slowly became more complicated as the children grew, with simple values and morals thrown in. Hard work, telling the truth, helping others, friendship and such were fed along with the food. The ways of the world including cunning, slyness, betrayal and other negative emotions were also woven into simple tales to prepare the children to face the world.

In the light of all the above, I disagree with the reasoning behind not distracting children while feeding them.

While stories have to be part of every child’s life, listening to them preferably from  a loved one makes them more memorable. One need not be a great storyteller to grab the attention of a child. Here is the secret which many parents might not know: There is an innate storyteller in every parent just as there is a superhero in each child, waiting to come out! 

I remember the L&M spinning stories for the boys when they were small. They invariably were little heroes in those tales, rescuing other children or old and helpless people from sundry wild beasts, bad men or monsters, fighting with and driving them away. And always, but always being thanked by those rescued for saving them! You should have seen the expression of pure accomplishment and satisfaction in those little faces as they became the imaginary heroes.

My children also had the privilege of  having storytellers in their grandparents – one on each side – my mother-in-law and my father. They each had their own style of telling tales. My older one was a born bookworm. I used to buy him books – the plastic coated board books when he was barely able to sit and he began ‘reading’ comics even before starting playschool. He would make his grandmother tell the stories based on his liking for the illustrations. For instance, he would demand the story where the monkey was pointing a finger at a tree! The poor lady would have to frantically search for the particular picture in the particular comic and then tell him the story. Her travails didn’t end there. She had to remember exactly what she had told on the previous occasion. If she changed the story even a little, he would catch her at it and demand that she tell the story the same way she had earlier!

He could make the stories of Rama and Krishna come alive.

He could make the stories of Rama and Krishna come alive.

My father must have had storytelling genes in him and with his retirement, he found his vocation. I remember how during family gatherings when the kids turned too boisterous and hard to manage, all one had to do was shout, ‘Thatha is going to tell a story!’ and within no time, every one of them would have trooped in to surround him and hang on his every word. We grateful mothers and others would keep him supplied with coffee and hot water to soothe his throat! Poor father had to plead with them in order to even take a break to stretch his legs! It was also easy to feed the gang because they would eat anything that was served without a fuss as they listened to the stories!

He didn’t tell the stories of Ram and Krishna or Hanuman, the eternal favourite of kids – in a staid manner. When the vanar sena began building the bridge to go to Lanka, they played catch with the big trees and boulders and stopped for refreshments – of samosas and vadas. (Here I must mention that the aromas emanating from the kitchen made him add those goodies to the tales he was spinning. So it was natural for Krishna to munch on murukku and Hanuman to lap up badam halwa! )

Families often have their own special stories. Some might be traditional, others made up by a member of the family long long ago and then passed down the generations.

I remember the story of the unni – a tiny mite that torments a traveler relaxing under a tree, by spitting the stones of the fruits it ate on his head!  It effectively frustrates all his attempts to kill it telling him how it managed to survive every time. I think this is a special story of my family. Correct me if I am wrong.

Now if you go by logic, there is none, (how can a tiny mite eat big fruits and spit the stones?) nor is there a moral to it but is there a rule that all stories need to have logic and moral behind them? What I like about these traditional and family stories is that story is repeated from the start with the addition of a new incident with every step, which helps imprint the story in the little minds of the children. The other story I remember is the one where the fly forgets its name.

I think I have made it fairly clear that it is very important to first begin telling the story to a child. Do it either with or without a book, instead of reading from it. The child can look at the pictures as he listens to the story and might soon begin telling it himself.

Telling the stories also makes them more interactive. For instance, when you are telling a story, any story, you can ask the child, ‘….what did the monkey do then?’ Usually the child will have an answer. Sometimes, she will say, ‘You tell me!’ and then you respond, ‘No, you tell me what it did!’ She would then think and come up with her idea. But be prepared for her begin to cry asking you to tell her. Don’t fret. Just smile and continue with the story. This is not some regular tantrum and so you can give in 🙂  This works for older children, of say three or four years. This is also the time a child begins enjoying being read to or trying to read the story by herself.

‘But I have no time to tell stories,’ you say? Well, there is no need to sit down and tell a story. Make them up as you go through the day. My dear blogger friend R’s Mom will agree with me. She has a whole collection of such tales which she spins for her little one even as she rushes through her daily routine, including holding down a full time job! She has spun stories around such mundane things like How the bhindi got its crown, The teeth that told a story, The crying girl!

It is the personal touch that makes the big difference in terms of creating memories. The comments on the previous post justifies the theory that while we remember the books we read as children, we remember the stories we heard from our near and dear ones in our early childhood even better.

A word of warning: There is no guarantee that a child will pick up a book just by virtue of listening to stories. Many parents, especially those who are readers themselves are frustrated when the children don’t do it. Be patient. But again, they might not become instant and avid readers; they might do it at their own pace or even give it up temporarily due to pressures of studies, work and other commitments. But eventually, they will turn back to the comfort of books. Trust me.

So create some magic moments for your child. Tell them stories!

Do you agree that stories are important in a child’s life? Could you also share the special family stories if there were any?

…more

(Homepage image courtesy: http://www.reachoutandread.org)

 

 

 

55 comments

  1. […] Growing up with stories […]

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  2. […] first three parts of this series on Books and Reading can be read at  I, II and […]

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  3. […] (This the third in the series on Books and Reading. The first two parts can be read here and here) […]

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  4. As you know I am a voracious reader, but this time when my grand child was here and he wanted me to tell him a story, I was at a loss, couldnt remember a single one..he could spin the stories better than me, now going to buy Amar chitra katha and re learn some:)

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    1. No problems there, Reanu. You should then tell the known stories with added masala appropriate to his age like my father used to. After all, he would be able to enjoy the battlefield scene of Ramayan where Ravan’s heads keep sprouting up or, the way Hanuman leapt across the ocean. I am sure he will visualise such scenes. Amar Chitra katha of course, is the ultimate saviour 🙂

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  5. Definitely ! Story telling is a must for little children. It inculcates so many good values , offers entertainment and creates great childhood memories. I read to my son mostly but at times, I invent. The best one he likes is the one I invented of an 8 year old boy who has an alien friend. Even though i forget the absurd names I give to the characters, he corrects me unfailingly every time I make a mistake !

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    1. I love your story about the alien. It would be a great idea if you could jot down the names of the characters and make a book out of it. There are many 8-year-old kids out there who will identify with it. If you ask him when he grows up, I am sure, he will remember the stories you told him more fondly than the reading sessions.

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  6. Sairam · · Reply

    Oh Zephyr! you should have started this series three or four years back. My son is seven and I don’t remember telling or reading him many stories. I have always been trying to make him READ the stories! The effort has borne mixed results. He is a good reader for his age, but he is not interested in reading stories at all. Maybe, I should have started with telling/reading stories for him so that he could have discovered the magic of stories. Then I should have nudged him towards reading. Sigh!

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    1. You haven’t said if you had listened to stories as a kid. And if he reads books, don’t worry if he is not reading fiction. Let him develop the taste for books slowly. You could tempt him by discussing about some story book that you had read or maybe buy some and leave them lying around in the house. A reader will eventually gravitate towards something new sooner than later. Take heart from the fact that he is better off than children who don’t read at all.

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  7. you took me years and years back.. the days i call the good old days..

    woh nani ki baaton main pariyon ka Dera
    woh Chehre ki Jhuriyoon main sadiyon ka phera
    bhulaye nahin bhool sakta hai koi
    who chothi si raaten woh lambi kahani

    We did not have electricity in village then , we did not have a tv then and in village they came years later so the evening’s dinner was eaten early and then it was story times.. everyone sitting together outside under the open sky .. sometimes counting the starts.. sometimes one would start a story say a line the other had to carry on and so on..

    My mothers side was huge 6 sisters and brother. and she got married first very young so i was born when the rest were still unmarried so you can imagine everyone together ..

    Our house use to be the only one in the Village sorts..as it was in middle of fields and as years went more and more people settled and hence the village ..
    so at night silence everywhere the odd noise of animals wild and tame.. and someone will start on a horror story just to frighten others..

    and as i mentioned in the previous post .. Chidhi thumak thumak ai.. beautiful days those were it was truth that

    Mujhko yakeen hai Sach kehti thi , jo meri ammi kehti theen
    jab mere bachpan ke din the CHAAND pe Pariyaan Rehti theen

    and as i grew up, I was told I was a story teller , when i was passing out of school I rember we got a farewell party and I had kept a notebook for everyone to sign and almost everyone said in there that they will miss the one thing the stories i told , which i had listened from my grand parents etc .. I am not much talkative nowadays but i cant remember telling stories too , its been a long long time , I guess Life happened..

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    1. What wonderful memories, Bikram. I can imagine the horror story scene. That usually happens when there is a large crowd and someone is scared of them. So the rest would gang up and start the tale 🙂 We did believe the tales we were told about paris in chand and dancing chidis. Much like children in the west are told Santa stories. I wish children retained their magic years all their lives so that they may regale not only their peers like Suresh and you but also succeeding generations.

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  8. Oh I loved loved loved this post..thanks for mentioning me…you make me feel proud..hehehe 🙂

    My takeaways from your post

    1. yes, stories are not distractions while eating..they just make the kids eat faster
    2. Yes, its important to tell stories as much as its important to read stories to kids
    3. Start young
    4. Spin a tale on anything and everything
    and finally yes, kids who enjoy ‘listening’ to stories may not turn out to be book lovers..my R is a classic example of that 🙂

    Thanks for the lovely post, I learnt so much today

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    1. I am happy that you agree with all the points I have tried to make. You are also a mom after my heart and one of the inspirations for this post 🙂 But please RM, R is still too young for you to say that she has not started reading.

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  9. I never thought story telling in this line, Zephyr. Yes, all these animals and birds come close to the minds of children which will stay there always.

    My sis in law is a good story teller. Whenever she came home, she used to ‘create’ stories which involved many animals and birds. I and my husband also were eager to hear them when she fed my sons. My mother used to tell mythological stories which were also good! I still remember the expression in the children’s faces while hearing the stories…I am not a good story teller, so I read stories to them whenever I was free, mostly from Amar Chitra Katha. You must be a very good story teller!

    ‘She had to remember exactly what she had told on the previous occasion. If she changed the story even a little, he would catch her at it and demand that she tell the story the same way she had earlier!’ This happened at home too!

    Do you remember the monkey and the cap seller story? We know that the monkey imitated the act of throwing down the cap from his head? My sis in law extended it. The story goes to the next generation. The cap seller’s son also does the same job. While selling his caps on the road, he comes and rests under the same tree with his remaining caps. He goes off to sleep. When he woke up he saw the cap basket empty. When he lifted his head up, he saw some monkey playing with them. He remembered his father’s story and threw down the cap he was wearing to the ground, like his father did. But one of the monkeys came down, picked up that cap, climbed up and laughingly said, ‘like your father told you the monkey and the cap story, my father also told me how he was fooled by a capseller and asked me not to get fooled by him again.’ This was my children’s favourite story, apart from ‘kotte paakku kadhai’, which I don’t remember clearly. You must be knowing!

    Enjoyed reading your post, Zephyr.

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    1. Oh Sandhya, loved the capseller’s story retold by your SIL 🙂 And kotte paaku story? Well I have never heard of it. Maybe it is a special family tale? Please make enquiries and try to write it down. We can’t allow traditional stories to become extinct. I am not in the same league as my father or MIL but I did spin stories for the children when they were very young. I can only write now and that too for older children 🙂

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  10. I grew up to stories from ramayana and mahabharata. And numerous other made up ones.
    I enjoy story telling time with my kids… While Sid who is 6 has now his own make belief world which is influenced heavily by Tv characters.. My daughter still loves hearing stories of princess lost in forest or animals. Thanks for your beautiful post.

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    1. The reason why your little daughter loves stories is also why one should start telling stories early. Just imagine kids growing up without listening to them and starting off with TV straightaway. Good that Sid had listened to real time stories before graduating to TV. Hey, good to see you here after a long time 🙂

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  11. Another magical post, Zephyr! Abhimanyu was trapped in the final epic battle and lost his life as his mother Subhadhra fell asleep while Arjun was narrating the art of breaking free from Chakravyhu when he was still in womb! So the importance of story telling goes that far and I remember narrating stories to my daughter when she was a toddler:)

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    1. Thanks for reminding me of this story from Mahabharat. Yes, the baby is aware of outside stimulus and even sounds and today scientists are ‘discovering’ this ancient knowledge and gynaecs are advocating audios like Ojas for expectant mothers!

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  12. It is almost as essential,as any other routine..to read a book to the kids from age of two before they go to sleep.

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    1. I would say telling stories is even more essential because one can start even earlier and make them interactive too.

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  13. My favourite childhood memories are centered around summer holidays, when we had our working Mom all to ourselves and she would read out stories to us. I wanted to be part of my daughter’s happy memories, so, we sat together and read stories of elves, PB Bear, Noddy…

    Life is so mundane without stories and happy memories.

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    1. Rightly said Purba. Lovely memories are woven around storytelling sessions with a loved one.

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  14. I wrote a blog post about Grandpa 6 years back. His stories are still fresh and I quote the last para from that post:

    “I am 24 now, and though I don’t listen to his stories often I do recollect the small pearls. Kids grow up with stories; it’s a place where they wished to be. Grandpa took me to those places – on the hills, under the sea, to heaven and hell, made me meet gods and demons. And we came out alive and unscathed”

    http://royalenfielder.me/2009/04/12/the-story-teller/

    I wonder how many parents read stories to their kids; but thanks to Appa’s rather outlandishly adventurous stories, there is there a wanderer in me.

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    1. I remember the post Vinni. And the one you wrote about paati’s stories too. Why not link that one too? I don’t remember reading stories to you but defintiely remember telling all those made up stories 🙂

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  15. So sorry. Am using my tab since samhith is hogging the comp and guess I didn’t see properly 😦

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  16. No, zephyr, we didnt hear the unni story. But there was a modified folktale of a youngest child from a poor family being reprimanded for eating a kozhakattiai she hasn’t really eaten,she leaves the house and goes on a journey where she meets lots of interest in animals and people and eventually returns home rich. The story is based on a folktale, but the details seem to be unique to our family since no one I have told the story to seems to have heard it 🙂 will tell u the story when we meet or will write it down and send u a link 🙂
    BTW, I had also left a second comment which has disappeared 🙂 about kids remembering stories even tho they can’t read, when samhith was small, he loved the story of krishna, esp the killing of all those asuras. Once an ain’t car home and told him the same story, but in a different order. He could barely speak then, but even with his limited vocab, he argued with her about the order. Its still a much takes about event in th family!!!!

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    1. I have not heard the story either. Looking forward to reading it soon 🙂 And your second comment is very much there and I have even replied it. 🙂

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  17. Most of the stories told to young kids were those told us by our grandparents/elders.
    But Aesop’s fables,Tenalirama and Panchatantra stories were great sources for stories. Chanda mama was very popular at some stage and read avidly by all children.But the common thread in all the stories was that good finally prevailed over evil.

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  18. Found In Folsom · · Reply

    My message is gone too 😦

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    1. Awww, so sorry about that. Hope you have the time to post another one.

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  19. My last comment vanished into thin air so here I am again. Reading has been an integral part of my own life. I remember reading since I was a little child. My parents would not read to us but they kept a lot of books around us including comics and magazines. My paternal grandfather told a few stories but otherwise no one was really telling stories back then. My father-in-law loved regaling tales. He told a few to toddler Sid before he passed away. My husband and I do tell stories to kids. I keep telling them about my childhood. I also read them books. I must tell you that Gautam enjoyed Karna from the ACK that you sent. So much so that he got antsy when his bedtime came but the tale wasn’t over :). Sadly, I sometimes run short on time to read to him or feel too tired. Sid is like your elder son. He reads anything he sees lying around — a true bookworm. I remember that my school used to give away books as prizes that I cherished. I was a bright student so I won many many books over the school years that added to my treasure trove of reading. Storytelling is indeed important. But these days, I see parents going overboard. I think it is a love that has to be nurtured not forced upon kids because it is a smart thing to do. Makes me also mad when parents allow kids to read stuff inappropriate for their age as Seeta pointed. Lovely, insightful post!

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    1. I am sorry about the comment that vanished. Now Latha’s comment also seems to have disappeared.

      You had the stimulus in the form of books and so you didn’t miss storytelling per se. But I am sure your mother must have told you tales as she fed you, dressed you and all. the boys are old enough to begin reading books and I am sure Gautam will soon pick up books and surprise you all. Just wait and see. Forcing books on kids happens only when the parents don’t read or there are no books to read in the house. For the rest, it is just a matter of time. One can’t expet all children to be alike and be good readers from the word go. Be patient and you will see, ‘sabr ka phal meetha hota hai.’ 🙂

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      1. The last book arrived by Flipkart yesterday. Thanks so much. Gautam and I are on the Ghatotkach story now. It looks like he is now hooked to mythology :D. Thanks for the nudge through your kind gesture. It has galvanized both of us into reading and enjoying. Oh I am not at all worried about Gautam. I know he will read when he feels like it. Yesterday, he got a tiny booklet from school about football. He made Sid read that to him on the short ride in the school bus on his way back home. He was also gung ho about it and then read one page of the tale to me while I was having tea :D. Such fun, this bonding around letters, words and pages and the worlds they open out to us.

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        1. It is heartwarming to hear that Gautam has begun getting interested in reading by himself. And I am so sorry I am yet to send you the list of books for him. You don’t need much time to tell stories or bond over words and letters as you put it. Enjoy!

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  20. You made me remember my childhood.. I agree its upto us to teach our children the art of reading through story telling… but there are some extreme cases too.. I know of a parent who isn’t well read herself but wants her kid to read, which is good. But unfortunately while the intent is there, her own lack of awareness and reading hampers the child growth. She reads stories that are not meant for the child’s age without knowing what she is doing. For e.g. she has been reading A Tale of Two Cities to her.. her daughter is just 7 years old….

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    1. You said it, Seeta. Those who force age-inappropriate books are the ones who don’t read books as a means of enjoyment. So they can’t guide their kids, right? I really feel sad for such kids.

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  21. I liked listening to stories as a child and couldn’t wait to start reading. And the moment I could read, I stopped listening to stories, except from my maternal paati.

    Some of my best memories of listening to stories are with my paati. She would combine games and stories and we (my brother and I) loved it. So along with playing Pallankuzhi, chozhi, ludo, snakes & ladders we would hear stories from all over. Paati was an avid film goer and she would tell us stories from films as well.

    I’m loving this series of your, Zephyr and am waiting for the next one now.

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    1. Paatis and thathas are special and one can listen to their stories even when we are much older, right? How wonderful it must have been to listen to stories while playing those games of pallanguzhi and chozhi! Films stories? That sounds fun. But did she tell you any special family tale? Some nonsense story like that of the unni? I am dying to know that. And the next post will come up soon. The topic? Wait and watch 🙂

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  22. When I was small, we used to have power cuts. every evening for an hour. Grandma used to spin stories and we would sit near her feet listening. How blissful it would be 😀
    I remember telling poem, stories to my son when he was small. I used to get frustrated when he would not respond. ( He started speaking very late.) But guess what he narrates those stories now, so he had heard it all. 🙂
    I love RMs stories too

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    1. Your comment as well as Anu’s confirm the fact that it is never too early to begin telling stories and that they listen and absorb the tales even if they can’t speak out. It is my theory that we keep talking to children and that even if they don’t respond, it is all sinking in 🙂 That is why our elders told us stories of values and morals.

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  23. What a lovely post! Completely agree with you about the importance of stories for a child. And yes, telling stories is far, far better than reading them!

    I remember my father would sit on a large swing on the veranda of our house. My siblings, myself and several cousins who spent the summer vacations with us, would gather on and around the swing. And spend enjoyable evenings listening to his stories!

    Years later, my children and nieces/nephews did the same! His stories entertained them too. 🙂

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    1. I am so glad that you agree about listening to stories being better than reading them, at least when the children are younger. My father had little time during his working years as he did shift duty and couldn’t spend much time in telling stories to his own children. But with grandchildren he was in his elements. But tell me, have you inherited his storytelling genes? 🙂

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  24. And I forgot to mention….when samhith was a kid, he loved listening to the stories of krishna. He could barely speak, but knew all the asuras who had been killed. When a visiting aunt told him her own version of the stories, he, with his limited vocab, managed to argue with her about the sequence of asuras killed!! Its still the topic of conversation in the family !

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    1. Samhith reminds me of my older son who nagged his grandmother to tell the story the same way without changing or omitting any details. Kids indeed have wonderful memories. And you are right, as they grow older, they begin questioning a lot of things that smaller children take at face value.

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  25. Lovely post, Zephyr! A catching up with posts and going back to read ur earlier one next,but i absolutely loved this one! I so agree with you about telling stories to children… I was a lucky child too,surrounded by storytellers in the family, and grew up hearing all sorts of stories…. Mythology, folk tales, made up stories and of course, family stories too 😀 I did the same for my son too, starting ear?ly, when he was barely a few months old, and even buying loads of those hard backed books he could see pics in. And I have seen the transition too, as movies have taken over, though he still loves listening to stories, esp from me or my mom,even if he now picks holes in them!

    And recently, I even told some mythological stories to a bunch of kids,who had never head them before. Its sad to think that people have forgotten the art of storytelling just because they think they have no time!

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    1. You a mother after my heart, Anu 🙂 People used to make fun of me for telling stories to my few months old boys but I know that it has made an impression on them. And having grown up with stories made you a storytelling mother too. Wa the unni story part of your family stories? Any you can share in a nutshell? I would love to hear them. More than making time the excuse, I feel that storytelling has been outsourced too these days. Professional storytellers and programmes with actor dadimas telling stories are replacing real life storytelling too 😦

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  26. I remember one story that was told to us. My mother will use the name of one vegetable we didn’t want to eat and tell us a story around how eating that vegetable turns kids into super-heroes, etc. We would listen to the story with excitement, but we won’t eat that vegetable even after that!

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Now I am curious to know which vegetable it was that brought on the story and which you kids still didn’t eat 🙂

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  27. chsuresh63 · · Reply

    I do agree, Zephyr! Stories are interesting to most when told and it is great fun when it takes form during the narration with the audience adding color to it. AND, yes, the facet of untrammeled imagination it adds to children is priceless.

    I, believe me, was a story-teller for my cousins, when I was barely a few years older than them. And to my schoolmates. I can still remember my cousins trailing around me everywhere pestering me for stories. None of them, in fact, have turned to reading for fun – but they were avid listeners for as long as they were children.

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    1. It is interesting to know that you had also told stories to children when you were their age. I had written about me doing it in my last post. But who told YOU stories, Suresh? Sometimes children or people begin reading much later in life. Have you checked to find out if any of your listeners have?

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      1. chsuresh63 · · Reply

        Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Zephyr, I started reading pretty early in life. Though, yes, my mom and a female cousin of mine did tell stories. They restrained themselves to recounting tales from the Puranas or movies. I was the one who used to make up stories on the spot and tell them. (Why, I even used to tell scenes on demand 🙂 Like if someone wanted something to happen on the day, I used to incorporate it into the tale I was telling – sort of ‘Neyar Viruppam’ in the story 🙂 ) And I am in touch with all my cousins – no such luck 🙂

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        1. Ha ha! What a great thing to have a listeners’choice even in stories! Your storytelling skills are nonpareil. Do you continue telling stories to your nieces and nephews? If not, please start doing it. It is an art and needs to be preserved, as the younger one did with his grandfather’s stories bye first recording and then digitising them. Maybe your cousins still hope to get you to tell them stories? 😀

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          1. chsuresh63 · ·

            Hmm – those were days when all cousins congregated together for the summer holidays. Does not happen with my nephews and nieces – and, even when a few are physically together in one place, they are all in their own world created by electronic devices 🙂 No mere human can compete with those infernal things 🙂 And, as for my cousins, they seem to have sworn off fiction – hopefully, not as a consequence as having heard my tales 🙂

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          2. Oh yes, the infernal technological tools which have also hastened the cynical phase in children and who as a consequence question the logic behind tales 😦 Ah, you have answered the question uppermost in my mind about the possibility of having put your cousins off books with your tales 😀 Just kidding. The way you spin tales now, I am sure you must have been good even then. And as I had said, not all become readers.

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