“Once upon a time”….. This phrase must certainly evoke a very positive feeling of elation and excitement among the minds of those who were treated to a spontaneous narrative of stories that were told to them by the elders in the family in the past.
It is no secret in sharing here that the narration of stories which were blended with emotions, gestures and voice modulation have literally caught our imagination much beyond words could really express. Popularly known as bedtime stories, they have been a very encouraging and engaging time of personal bonding between the children and the elders within the framework of the family system.
‘Those were the good old days’ sort of expression cannot hide itself from a few of us, who have been enthralled with great bedtime stories. It was a pure and authentic tradition that was known to have passed on family history, social incidents, religious anecdotes, human values etc to the young minds which enriched us as we grew in age and wisdom.
Yes, those were the good old days indeed. Now what ?
It does not get so simple to answer that question. The storytelling sessions that occupied family gatherings as the major meeting point of group relaxation, seemingly super strength pastime activity for the kids, an opportunity for the grannies to let out their fantasies come out to the open through engaging tales, and above all a very enriching fun time for giggles and cuddles. The list of the positive vibes of the story telling can go on and on. We need to cut it short now to take a stock of connecting it with the modern day life and lifestyle.
One common factor that we all need to accept is the loss of quality family bonding time among a vast majority of the families in the society today. This is a very generic situation and it applies to all families without any distinction or difference. The quest for life and the very basic fact of accommodating oneself to the demands of maintaining the lifestyle, from the standpoint of view of survival according to the varied situations and means have practically taken away small little enjoyable moments of life, from all of us.
The major social shift from the joint family system to that of nuclear family has cast a very great impact on the quality of family life, particularly for the children in the family who are growing up in life. Migration of families from their native place to that of the work place has caused physical distance among the family clan, something that could have otherwise been a great support mechanism for the young adults who are professionally engaged. The invasion of technology and tools of modern entertainment have come to be the mainstay as the only option for children to be engaged apart from studies. As such, the neighbourhood games and play have totally gone away from the social space in the recent times, which is a undoubtedly a stark truth that we have to accept.
Agreed, we have had a very connected and enlightened past legacy in terms of quality family time which included storytelling. Are we supposed to remain static and remorse that we do not have the scope now to bring back the same into our lives and our families?
No!, we can do our bit to make the past connected with the present, of course with suitable modifications to cater to the changed social scenario, only if we are serious enough to look for alternatives. There is something that could bring back the smiles and cheer among us if we look at the scenario of “Story Telling as Art” that is gaining in prominence.
Oh Yes! The art of storytelling is back.
A few individuals who have nurtured and displayed their compassion to keep the children engrossed with the benefits of storytelling have started to enter the social space with their professional role as facilitators. Many are volunteering their time and efforts as freelancers by going about creating a huge canvas for integrating storytelling as a valuable pastime activity. The organic growth and value addition must be seen and experienced to be believed.
But there is a light change, which we need to brace ourselves with for the present. It is not done at homes, but in a common place where children could assemble for an enriching day or evening of robust storytelling engagement.
The magic that these individuals have created is slowly but steadily and more importantly valuable in transforming our crumbled social space into a knowledgeable social space with loads of stories. They are happening all around our neighbourhood, all that we need to do is to look out for one and get enriched into the absorbing process of harnessing human life with values through powerful stories.
It is also very encouraging to note that more and more families getting their children to attend to public storytelling programs that take place around our neighbourhood. Many mothers have started to accompany their kids to these sessions and at times we could see the whole family turn up for storytelling sessions conducted by popular artists or personalities.
Now that there is something positive that is happening around us in terms of Public Story Telling programs, could eventually creep into our families. This could possibly give a fresh of life for the art of storytelling to come a full circle back into our families with a bang. It is certainly up to us to take it further and make ensure that we do not let it go again into oblivion. This could happen only if we decide to dedicate some uninterrupted time and energy to lend our patronage in such sessions by our participation
Now, get moving to step into the world of fantasy and fun, electrifying enthusiasm, creative tale spinning, and emotive drama all through the art of storytelling. It could be the best tangible and permanent gift that you can give to the children in your family, something more valuable than the breakable toys and gadgets.