I’ve been reading through the gospels lately, and the teacher in me stopped this morning to consider Jesus’ habit of teaching by storytelling.
As a child, I was given a stack of Christian novels for children from the early 20th century. Some were decent stories; most were of the “if you don’t go to Sunday school a lion will eat you up” variety. As an adult, I learned from my writing teacher that excessive or blatant moralizing in fiction isn’t considered a good trait. I do agree, but I also wonder if I’ve unintentionally eliminated storytelling as a teaching tool because of my distaste for poorly written morality tales.
Jesus taught with stories. My mom’s third person trick comes close I think, although I never thought of those discussions as stories. I don’t think I’m biblically bound to parent with fictional stories, but I’d like to consider the value of doing so. I think I need to rethink what makes a good teaching story for very young children.
I do point out moral tone in picture books we read. (Why is Newton unhappy? What should Wizzie do to help him be happy? Did she do that?) That’s a start. Maybe I’ll try my hand at this.