I’m resurrecting this post because the article cited is so affirming. Affirmation is welcome even when recycled, right?
Storytelling hit the news recently, in the New York Times no less, with research regarding the importance of family stories on child development. Bruce Feiler authored the article about a study conducted by Marshall Duke at Emory University. The findings were powerful:
“The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative. [Kids] who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges.”
And it’s not just the anecdotes and happy stories that should be told. It was shown that stories of ups and downs, triumphs and failures, ghosts in and out of the closet, help children be more resilient. Belonging to an entity larger than yourself, and knowing that entity has made it through good times and bad, is of particular importance.
“The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The ‘Do You Know?’ scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.”
My niece has taken to asking at the dinner table and at bedtime, “What’s a story from your childhood?” Having shared this fascinating news with my family, we now take the time, every time, to conjure a story.