I’ve always enjoyed reading stories to my children, but recently I’ve become interested in learning how to tell my own. You’d think as a writer, this would come naturally to me. But, no, definitely not. All that means is that I am painfully aware how poor my first (and second, and third…tenth) attempt to tell a story really is. And it’s not like my four and seven-year-old rambunctious boys are going to be patient if I decide to engage in a little verbal revision.
So I found myself constantly running out of ideas for new stories to tell my boys (although, I have discovered that as long as I put a dragon, and a battle or two in there somewhere, they’re pretty happy).
Late one afternoon my boys were bouncing off the walls and needed a story to settle them down. I didn’t like the way I’d seen them treating their friend earlier in the day, so out of tiredness and frustration, I started telling them the story Grandma Crankypants Goes to Kindergarten.
Grandma Crankypants (who, in my imagination, has blue hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and a perpetual frown) gets sent to Kindergarten because she needs to learn manners. I usually cast my four-year-old son (who will enter kindergarten this fall) in the role of the child tasked with chaperoning Grandma Crankypants at school and teaching her the appropriate way to act in the classroom and on the playground. I cannot tell you how much he loves getting to tell Grandma Crankypants what to do. And if I’m not mistaken, he seems a little less afraid of starting Kindergarten than he did two months ago.
We have since told a couple of different Grandma Crankypants tales, including Grandma Crankypants Fights an Alien, and pretty soon, I think I’m going to introduce my boys to Grandma Crankypants’s hubby…Grandpa Stuffyshirt.
What about you? Do you ever tell stories to the children in your life? Have you ever started telling one to make a point instead of giving them a lecture? How did they respond?