Indian culture is rich with stories sharing life lessons, morals, traditions and values. From the time immemorial, stories have been a mode of instruction to emphasize values and morals. Not only to children but also to grown-ups. Stories are part of their lives.
In ancient days, stories were mostly told by people. From being written on rocks, stones and some leaves they were carried on by mothers and grandmothers as bedtime stories. Much later they were printed on books. Today stories are made into real with the aid of animations. The conspicuous fascination for stories has still been enthusiastically growing.
The folklore and fables have been an eternal part of every culture since ages. India, a country known for its diverse religions, languages and cultures has a monumental range of tales and short stories. Indian folklore has a wide variety of historical stories and mythological legends, which emerge from all walks of life.
Two epic stories Mahabharata and Ramayana are so popular not only because of their character but also for its abundant source of life lessons and moral values. There are many interesting and famous stories that range from the remarkable Panchatantra Tales to Hitobadesh Stories, from Aesop Fables to, from Grandma Tales of life to Stories of Akbar and Birbal.
Children really enjoy reading and listening to stories. Children are fascinated by stories of animals and birds, kings and queens, fairies and adventures. And Indian stories have all of these in abundance and more.
Kids get involved to a greater extent because their imagination derives from these tales. Each story gets deep rooted in the hearts of children with value.
Children love to dream. The world of fancy and fantasy is the privilege of their childhood. And stories justify these attempts to nurture their imagination and foster moral values. Mostly every story is concluded with an appropriate moral. The stories will not only entertain the children but also inculcate the sublime virtues and worldly wisdom in them.
Panchatantra stories, Jataka Tales, Thenaliraman Tales, Vikram and Vedhal, were my son’s favorites during his childhood. We enjoyed our nights through our bedtime stories.
As a mother, I am often disappointed though nowadays, because of the disappearing love for stories. Also I feel in the digital age there is a dire lack of value based storytelling.
Really story telling is an art and story teller is an artist. When told right, a story has the power to magically inculcate children with not only morals but bring them face to face with their culture and heritage as well.
Some personal tips on developing the skill of it.
Dedicated Reading Time
You can select any convenient time for you and your kids to tell stories. Mostly I prefer night time to share Bedtime Stories. Really the story time will be a bonding time for your family.
Enact The Story
While telling the stories, you act and make music. Parents making funny voices and getting the kids involved in the process makes the stories impact stronger.
Pause At The Right time
Let the kids guess what comes next. Ask them what they would have done in the same situation. This builds thinking power.
Leave Room for Discussion
Stories of long ago or a mythology have concepts hard to understand. Encourage kids to talk, discuss, share and express. Parents should respond, encourage, listen and guide. Parents should respect kid’s feelings and thoughts. Let them ask question and even disagree with what the story says. Don’t stop reading that story to them, though. That teaches them to learn to agree to disagree.
Painting and creating art work after they hear a story will let You see what the children actually thought of the story.
Share Your Memories
Let kids into your life with the history of your family and what you thought when you first heard the story. Discuss with the kids what you thought and ask them what they think of your opinion.
Games And More
For stories of mythology and history which have complicated names, it is a good idea to create games. Give points for guessing the protagonist of a certain story is and what happened. Another amazing way is to have the kids pretend to be they are one of the characters and play a game of dumb charades with them.
Story telling is the first and foremost step to introducing kids to any new culture, and specially their own heritage. Be the story teller of your family. And don’t just limit yourself to your own culture. Choose different countries and find what their mythology or history says!