Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Jumping for joy

P1070062Summer-time and children are expressing their delight. The other day on my way to the shops, one tiny boy was jumping repeatedly up and down on the pavement with the widest smile on his face. That sheer sense of fun is something I adore to see. I’ve always wanted to encourage it in children I come across whether at work or at home. It’s something that storytelling extends and supports. 

Looking through an old notebook this week, I came across a record of the following exchange. I vaguely remember it happening in a storytelling session. It began with me asking my audience, ‘What could you do with a story?’ One child’s answer was: ‘You could put it in storage and tell it to your children.’

Oddly enough another notion of storage came up during a visit I made this week. It was to part of my extended family where, I’m delighted to say, the children all love stories. On this particular day, one of the girls was having her 9th birthday. She was also very much looking forward to going abroad on holiday next week. When talk turned to her mother’s enormous suitcase – too big even for her, she thought – a notion began to develop that the birthday girl’s 7-year old cousin, who was also present, might be able to get in the suitcase and go on holiday with them. The fantasy quickly began extending until the 7-year old was talking about the feeding tube there might be in the suitcase, the icecream his aunty might send down the tube and  how he was going to wash. 

P1070061But this 7-year-old boy is not only full of imagination. He’s perceptive too. Or perhaps imagination and perceptiveness are pretty much the same thing? Perhaps encouraging the one means developing the other? At another point in my visit, I was bemoaning my forgetfulness as so many of my contemporaries are beginning to do. ‘Where has my memory gone?’ I cried. ‘Has it gone on holiday?’ Without me realising what he was going to do, that little boy quickly picked up on this theme and, as conversation continued, I suddenly realised he was testing me out. ‘What city do you live in?’ he asked me out of the blue. Surprised, I began my answer – ‘I live in Lon….’ Half way through my response, the look on his face made me stop. ‘You see,’ he said, ‘you know where you live, you haven’t lost your memory.’

A bit later he hammered the point home. As we talked some more about memory, he stopped me again. ‘You see,’ he said, ‘you’re still using words, you haven’t forgotten language.’

How perceptive is that! 

P.S.  This week’s photos were taken in my local park last winter. Boys about to career down the slope ahead –  it’s that same sense of energy and excitement. Not exactly jumping for joy but pushing off  into the unknown.  


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