Storytelling: the heart of connectedness and creativity

This is my daughter Elka telling Granny Annie a tale about the Big Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood playing hide and seek. It wasn’t a happy ending.

Last week, I wrote about storytelling, and its role in our life. Storytelling in the bath, in the car, when things get difficult, when we haven’t anything else to do. Stories get teeth brushed and pyjamas on.  Stories about Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs. Stories that are part this world, part books, part imagination.

Storytelling is a way of nourishing creativity, and to be creative, we must unleash our inner storyteller. As adults, when we write fiction, we need to switch off our analytic ‘adult’ brain, and retreat to our childlike stream of consciousness. We have to part ways with judgement and our inner critic, and simply let the story flow through our pen.

Reading to children, and inventing tales is a beautiful way to nourish creativity. Listen to the stories children tell while they play. If they invite you to, engage in their fantasy world, asking questions.

Connect with a child through stories

Stories are an insight into little minds. They tell us what a child has been reading or watching on television. They may also tell us what a child is thinking or feeling. Complex emotions and thoughts may present themselves in childrens’ stories. Storytelling is a way of communicating, and connecting us all.

In an article called The Secrets of Storytelling: Why we love a good yarn, Jeremy Hsu (2008) wrote:

Most scientists are starting to agree: stories have such a powerful and universal appeal that the neurological roots of both telling tales and enjoying them are probably tied to crucial parts of our social cognition.

Pam Allyn (2010) writes about the social benefits to storytelling:

Story reminds us that connectedness to the world does not always mean some have more and some have less, but that we all have stories and that is what brings us together.

Nourish storytelling. Nourish creativity.

Nourish Creativity will happen here every Monday.

Linking with Grace for FYBF at With Some Grace.

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  • Beautiful post! I love stories. When you mentioned how they get teeth brushed, it made me think of the things I tell myself when I brush my teeth. Sometimes I think of things I’m grateful for, other times I think of health and try to wiggle my toes a lot and feel healthy, and other times I do something else entirely. All of these are sort of like stories! What a great thing to *choose* entertaining stories and not ones that are self-criticizing (like the ‘you were too lazy today’ story) or the ones that are just mean or useless (the let’s-figure-out-all-the-ways-you-aren’t-pretty-today story). What about intentionally telling ourselves happy stories for fun?! I am going to try 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment…you read this happily, it seems, without the video, which I am having a hell of a time uploading! I can’t get it online somehow…
      I love your interpretation. Stories are everywhere, it is true, and they allow us to construct our lives, and give lives meaning. I am sure there are books written about this!

    • Video is finally working now, if you want to catch up! xx

      • I will 🙂 I assumed it wasn’t working for me because my java is out of date or something 🙂

  • “Mum, can you make up a story?” is said about 139,451 times a day at the moment. Sometimes, occasionally, Miss 2.5 will make one up. I love her stories. 🙂

    • It’s so beautiful to hear their stories, isn’t it Danya? x

  • What a great post. My little girl has the most complex, vivid role playing games, It’s truly hilarious and amazing to listen in on her storytelling monologue. It’s so fun and so important!

    • Totally important Sarah. Their little minds are incredible! x

  • You know Zanni I always try and soften the blow with scary stories, but maybe I shouldn’t – but my children seem to be scared of the big bad wolf etc and it keeps them awake at night. We also read the less scary ones, but maybe one day I’ll read them without taking out all the bad bits. Gorgeous video xx

    • It’s fair enough – they are scary! My daughter is scared of things like Mickey Mouse cartoons though. I think stories are palatable for her because they don’t have the sound effects. Go at your kids’ pace. You know them best. xx

  • One of my fave things as a kid was to have stories told to us, either by Dad or our Uncle, they had the best stories. Most of Dad’s stories were based on things that happened on his travels for work with a bit of an imaginary twist thrown in. My Uncle’s stories were pure fiction an always hilarious! I hope to pass on my love of stories to Mia.

    • Uncles are the best Kylie. Or anyone in your life who is great at telling stories off the cuff. It’s sometimes nice to be free of a book. 🙂 x

  • crazycrunchychocolatemummy

    I love this post! I have a 6 month who already adores story time. I think its the most beautiful way to connect with your child
    thank you for posting!

    • Thank you! I am glad you liked it 🙂 Story time can start at any age. I used to read to Elka on the change table when she was a tiny baby. x

  • I love cuddling up with my boys, one on each lap, and reading stories. And if a scary bit comes up, they hug my arm a little tighter and sink their bodies into mine.
    Gorgeous, gorgeous video, Zanni x

  • What a beautiful post. Reading and story telling is such a precious and important thing to share with our children indeed xx