Today is day 1 of our human development module. It is a day for storytelling as we explore how we have been shaped by our experiences, how our faith has been shaped by our understanding of God’s story. We remember, we laugh, we may even cry a little bit. We talk about what stories we most remember from our childhood and how we may have been influenced by them. I blogged previously about Jo March, hers was one of the stories that shaped my understanding of what it was to be a woman. More recently I have been inspired by watching the film Brave and hope that is a story which will shape both young boys and girls, I can’t remember anything quite so empowering from my childhood! I was never really someone who wanted to be rescued and was more of a tomboy than a princess despite being called Sally!
Stories also help us to reflect with other people and can give a safer way to explore some difficult options. This is one of the stories I sometimes use:
So Bipley sat by the grey lake in Wibble Wood and thought and thought. “If I keep the tough stuff around my heart, I need never feel hurt again. But then having the tough stuff around my heart means that I can’t feel any of the beautiful things in the world.” Bipley was very, very stuck. It felt like he was sitting next to the biggest problem of his life (p13).
The story works in several ways and while it is for children it can sometimes produce some fascinating insights with adults:
It presents options about what to do when you face a huge obstacle in your life.
It presents new possibilities, creative solutions for tackling and overcoming seemingly insurmountable problems.
It shows ways of dealing more effectively and far less painfully with very common emotional problems.
It provides options for new ways of being.
These new ways forward may not be acted on in the child’s life right as that moment, but can act as a seed planted in his mind, taken in as a resource, and lived and used fully in later life (p12).
From Sunderland, M. Using Story Telling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children. Bicester: Speechmark, p12-13.
What are the stories, or books, or films or songs which have shaped you or been therapeutic at particular points in your life?