“Daddy, you are my big brother and best friend”. You tell me cool stories, car stories. I love you” – my 3 year old looked me in my eyes, with a smile not big not small but just enough that made me hug him, told me these beautiful words, after I was done telling him the goodnight story. Made me feel special
How it all began?
Story telling was a way I figured I can put my daughter to sleep. I didn’t want to read from the book because then I had to turn on the light and would distract her, so I figured I will just make it up. I started telling stories about topics that interested her and captivated her imaginations. Topics such as butterflies, colors, the sky, the stars and everything that she can visualize and understand. Soon my daughter encouraged me to be more creative. She would come up with the topic, the characters and together we would weave the stories. Story telling, impromptu story telling was something my daughter encouraged me to do and together we had some of the best stories we came up with and what is amazing is we still remember some of those stories or I should say my daughter remembers them more than I do.
Some of the characters I had introduced when she was about 3 years old, she still remembers them.
The characters include
- Silly, Milli and Khilli
- Pappu, Gappu and Chappu
- Mussadhi Lal, champak Lal and ram Lal
- Big man, parrot and the kid
Some of these stories had as many as 15 parts with every part as one single story ending with a what happens next question? I realized that whenever I had a story ending with scope for another part, my daughter would eagerly wait for all day. There were times when we should call me at work to remind me about the next part of the story.
She took this to the next level when she started creating her own stories with illustrations. She would take a white paper and divide it into multiple sections with each section having characters narrating a part of the story.
And then the competition
My son was a bit late to catch up on the stories but ever since he joined the bedtime story telling, there has been a bit of a competition. My son loves cars and would want the car to be featured in every story. This now became even more challenging or should I say more creative since I had to include the cars as a permanent fixture in the stories along with other characters that my daughter would like and not forgot the biggest challenge of making the story still interesting and exciting for both.
It’s been 7 years of story telling with hundreds of stories and several characters and still going strong, but I do admit there were days when I wished my kids went to bed without me telling them the stories, because I was either busy with something or too tired. It does get tough for the kids to go to bed without the story, so much so that they would wake up in the middle of the night crying for the stories.
And in some occasions I did tell them the stories in the middle of the night and on occasions when I don’t tell the stories I did kind of felt bad since it was just a story they had asked for and I couldn’t do it.
So what exactly are the stories about?
Since there are no books to read from, there is a lot more freedom to pick our own topics and with our own characters. The topics included
- current affairs
- success stories of farmers, rural innovators
- hardships of individuals and how they overcame them
- my childhood
- silly things
- my failures
When I look back (which I don’t do that often), the stories have opened up opportunities
- to have conversations that I would otherwise not have
- to get reactions from kids that I would otherwise not get
- to be asked questions that I would otherwise never be asked
- to know the creativity of the kids which otherwise I would probably not know
- to talk about topics which otherwise neither the school nor I would talk
I can’t thank my kids enough for bringing this side of me which i never realized i had, almost as an accidental story teller. Probably more than the kids, i would cherish these story telling :-). Please try it if you haven’t already and hope you have a great experience all together
A few stories from the past