In books. In movies. Tucked inside a magazine, it really doesn’t matter. When you boil down pretty much anything from TV comedies or just bumping into a friend at the grocery store–it’s their story they share to bring you up to date on their life or yours.
Stories aren’t just for entertainment.
We do a great job as parents reading stories to our children from books. We’re worried they won’t read or don’t read enough. I know I was a HUGE book-pusher with my kids. I still am.
When I got sick of reading the same book to the newest reader in my home, I would enlist their older brother or sister to read a story or twelve to them. It killed two birds with one stone–they got to practice reading and I was free to make dinner.
What if I told you it’s not just reading, but it’s the stories that make a difference with your kids?
Your stories make a difference.
And, not just the ones in books.
According to a study listed in the U.S. Library of Medicine, sharing a true story with our kids about our lives can make a difference in their emotional well-being for the better. It helps their self-esteem and gives them a sense of worth.
We report that knowledge of family history is significantly correlated with internal locus of control, higher self-esteem, better family functioning, greater family cohesiveness, lower levels of anxiety, and lower incidence of behavior problems. – National Library of Medicine
When our family gets together we can sit for hours talking. One of our adult kids gets irritated if we pull out a board game–that’s how much she loves listening to us share our stories. We talk about things that happened years ago, or maybe even this week. Things that made us laugh. Things that made us angry…which ultimately make us laugh.
Research also shows reminiscing about the past in a family environment like around the dinner table is a great way to infuse adolescents with healthy self-esteem.
Jesus spoke in stories. The parables he used to teach his disciples are stories with heavenly meaning.
God wired us to respond to stories. I love that research is coming alongside what we’ve known for so long–our story matters.
When I was little, my dad would take me and my sisters out for donuts and share stories about his childhood. We learned about his German Shepherd “King” and his newspaper route and a myriad of things that kept us on the edge of our sugar-filled seats.
I use lots of personal stories whenever I talk with my kids.
During devotions with the kids in the morning I’ll share a true story that matches up to the topic. If we were talking about lying, I share the story about when I was 7 years old and lied to a police officer. If we’re talking about trusting God I’d share about the times I have and haven’t.
Remember to keep your stories age appropriate. You want to give your kids or teenagers a sense of well-being, not traumatize them.
Turn off the TV. Put down your cell phones and talk. Take a little time to listen and share family stories. They have a much bigger impact than you think.