Friday July 1st was a wonder filled day. It was my 2nd brother’s birthday so I thought of him while I ate a great breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese in them, some toast and juice. Oh and lots of coffee. I prayed for him and his family. Thought of the times we shared coffee and laughter.
Then I made my list for the day.
- Make the bed.
- Put away clean clothes
- Empty the suitcase of those things I always take too many of when I travel. I just got back from the Christian Storytelling Conference in Normal Illinois on Sunday and have been too busy to get that thing empty and put away. That was an awesome conference. I presented a workshop and got to tell stories too. What a great bunch of people and what a lot of fun and laughter.
- Practice stories
- Tell stories at Stonewall Farm for their day camp.
- Get supper.
Well, I got part of the list done. I made the bed and practiced stories. Worked on some of the things I needed to catch up on as the event manager for the White Mountain Storytelling Festival (not on my list). Then I went to tell stories at Stonewall Farms. It is an hour and a half drive so I got time to practice.
What happened there was the answer to my own question “Why do I do that?”
I began my storytelling to a fairly large group of kids ranging from 5 to 12 years of age by asking them how many of them had been to camp there before. I would say about half of them had been. Then I asked if they had been there when I told last year. Many of them had. “Good, then you might remember this story that I am going to tell first. You can help me with it.”
It was the story of Sun Boy taken from a Margaret Reed McDonald book. One of the oldest stories told and certainly the oldest one I know. It comes from the Mayan tradition. I tell it as a participation story.
I went on to tell a few more stories. One I wrote about a little girl who wanted to learn to fly and kept asking her mother why she couldn’t and when she could until her mother sent her out to play. She asks all the animals she encounters in the back yard and even climbs way up in a tree to ask the birds. There she finds a nest of baby birds and all they do is cheep and ask for worms. Finally the mother bird comes home and tells her to leave her babies alone. When she asks mother bird how to fly she says jump. But the girls says “I can’t I don’t have feathers or wings.” Finally the mother bird tells her “When my babies grow up they learn to fly. Perhaps you just need to grow up too. Then you will be able to do anything you want to do.” The girl climbs back down the tree and goes in for lunch. Her mother confirms what the bird told her. When you grow up you can do anything you want to do. You can be anything you want to be.
Before I started that story I asked if anyone had ever wanted to fly and a girl about 8 or 9 years old got all excited and said yes. There was a light on her face and in her eyes that told me she really wanted to learn to fly. As I finished the story and said you too can be anything you want to be her face once again lit up and she didn’t stop smiling for a long time.
After a few more stories for about a 50 minute program, I said thank you to them for being such good listeners and everyone got ready to be picked up by parents.
One young boy perhaps 9 years old came up to me all smiles and excitement and asked me if I remembered giving him a stone last year. I said yes I did. He told me he still had it. It is in his rock collection. I asked him if it still had the story on it and if he remembered it. He said “Yes I picked the one with the yellow in it. The story is Sun Boy.” He also has other stones and some of them have stories on them as well. I would love to hear him tell them.
So why do I do this? I do this for those reasons. For the children that need to know they can do anything they want to as they grow. I do it for the ones who love the stories and keep the stones. I do it for the ones who need to know that someone cares and they are special. I do it so the stories will continue. I do it so the Mayan tales and the Scottish Folk tales and the old and the new stories of all kinds will continue to live in the hearts of the people.
I do it for love.
Why do I only get half my list done? Or why do I do things that are not on my list? I am not sure if any of that matters at the end of the day. It will all be right there tomorrow and one day if it is important it will get done?