14 September 2011

What do you mean, "*in* the story"?

In the Wondering Time after Sacred Stories, storytellers are urged to introduce four things to ponder. These are always the same. The first is I wonder which part of this story you liked the best. Just about everyone seems to like that. It gets the members of the circle thinking back over the story, and with that question most will feel comfortable sharing something out loud (... although nobody is ever made to feel that they must speak out loud.)

The third topic is I wonder where you are in this story. It can also be asked in a different way: I wonder which part of this story is about you. But this third topic is a tricky one. Adults may over-think it. Children may be baffled by it. Yet sometimes members of the circle share very deep and personal things about themselves at this point:

I am under the flood-waters.

I am the donkey, getting tired of carrying people.

I have come back from the desert to the river where there is refreshing water.

(my own materials)
It's also interesting when this question is taken literally. Last Sunday I told the story of the Great Flood. When I asked, I wonder where you are in this story, a child answered, I'm not there! I can't remember the exact words that followed, but the child gestured and observed that there were no figures of children in the story - just two adults and a bunch of animals. It's an interesting point. We think of this as a good story for children, and yet there are no children featured in the story.

[After a pause, I did point out that the Bible story says that after the ark landed, Noah's sons, who were grown up, and their wives, had babies to help "fill the world with life again".]

Frances, at "On the Chancel Steps", explored this idea of being in the story in her children's sermon for September 11th this year:
I wonder where you are in this story: I love stories! I love to read myself into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, or mysteries, or kings and queens, or the Bible. But not all stories are in books. Each of us has a story.
Her closing prayer begins, Dear Lord, Thank You for stories. I might pray this prayer myself the next time I feast with our children!


  1. Loved your thoughts and stories about the wondering questions. I'm always fascinated at children's responses. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

  2. I'm really flattered, Deb. Thank you!


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