Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Storytellers

If you looked back and read our family's Christmas newsletters, you'd soon see a pattern. When giving a brief (one sentence) description of each kid, I always, ALWAYS, say that Chad is our storyteller. Or, Chad continues to be our storyteller. Or, Chad continues to enjoy telling stories. You get the idea. I'm glad I finally realized how repetitive I was being a few years ago. But how many different ways can you say the same thing? (There's a blog right there.)

This year, however, I may have to give that same description to my other children as well. It seems they have discovered just how fun being a storyteller can be. Fun, right? Of course, it's fun but sometimes it can get out of hand. It's terrific when all is going well and everyone is happy with the status quo. Sometimes, it's just one child and other times, it's two or three, taking turns. TAKING TURNS is key, here. Until someone tries to take over or finish someone else's story - that's when the trouble starts. Rude remarks, yelling, Carmen running into the kitchen (where else would I be?) crying, saying "Alec is trying to finish my story!", etc. Of course, the worst thing I can say is, "It's just a story." JUST A STORY! How dare I make such a statement! These kids place great value on what they say and take great offense at being told how they should say it. At least, for the moment. In the next minute, they are off on another tangent and all is forgotten. If I can just remember how brief these squabbles are, I'd be a lot happier. Just let them work it out, as long as they don't get violent and nothing is thrown.

Though the noise level can rise quite high, I actually love all this story telling. Lots of learning is taking place here and I really can't take credit for it. Just be the referee.

The other day, I printed out something I had saved, explaining a writing exercise for kids. I try to add writing lessons every so often and while I was contemplating this one, my daughter started asking me how to spell different words. When I finally realized what she was doing, I had to laugh. She was writing a story. In chapters. Without me even asking. She asked, "Mommy, what's that in your hand?" "Nothing, sweetheart," I said, putting the paper away for later. It seems that Alec had started writing a story in chapters and Carmen, who copies nearly everything Alec does, started to write her own. She asked me to check her papers for mistakes and then asked if I could type up her story on the computer. We printed the pages and she is very pleased with her work. All without a single curriculum idea from me. Amazing.

Like I've read before (and I truly believe in) - sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let your kids learn.


jugglingpaynes said...

Isn't it wonderful when that happens? :o)
Sierra started writing and drawing her own comics. I'll have to post a few.
My kids love storytelling! It's remarkable that they are so easygoing about it. Marina, responsible, sensitive oldest child that she is, also makes sure everyone gets turns. I don't think I've ever heard them fight over a story. Maybe you just need to let the boys be aware of their sister's feelings? Or suggest Carmen tell you how it should have ended? Just throwing ideas out, I know how difficult sibling relations can be!

Peace and Laughter,

Mama Self said...

It happens at your house, too? You should be at our's at dinner time. Of course, our family's stories just get sillier and louder until Lee or I can't take it any more... Katy has completed about 105 pages in her novel so far. I hope this summer to find a real editor and get it published. (We'llsee how it works out.)

Have a great rest-of-the-week!

Cate said...

I think you hit the nail on the head as to the parental role in regards to managing kids: "referee" :-) And it doesn't end when they are in their late teens let me tell you!

Yay team for the great writing efforts!