By now I’m sure you’re getting the idea: Telling stories is a great way to change how your family relates together. Perhaps you grew up in a strict home, or even abusive. Whatever kind of home it was, you are the parent now or may someday be, and you hold the power to change the story.
Now I’m not saying you need to be a creative genius, but being willing to see opportunities to turn life from the Dark side- which just like in Star Wars is easy and oppressively powerful, to Light- which is filled with fun and adventure, is more than liberating. You give freedom, a chance to see things differently, to yourself and your kids.
It amazed me how when I would pick a place to spend time with God, it would change it. Wherever I would do this: in a corner of my room, at my locker at school, or up in a tree of my woods, it would become a doorway into Divine Intimacy. It would change the story and whenever I would get near the place, I would feel the difference. Likewise, when you decide to enter into a time of collaborative storytelling with your family, it changes the entire experience that you get to share together. It is much like a Dad’s chair in the family room. The chair that a Dad sits in while he watches sports and falls asleep, yep that one. He has claimed it and made it a place different from all the other chairs. Some Dads even have a hard time parting with their chair because of all the experiences they’ve shared together. Storytelling can change the daily life of your family making each one almost as holy as that chair.
Some people need to change the story of their home life by having a tank of freezing water dumped on it. Fighting spouses, overbearing attitudes, negative words gushing out like pollution in a Michigan river, these trample on opportunities like a drunk giant stamping on Spring Beauties. But if you change the story, you will watch how those Spring Beauties can cover the forest floor with color and fill the air with a fresh sweet breeze.
My kids have been known to occasionally need to change their story, like a dirty diaper. My wife often tells our daughter to throw the poopitude out the window, and for the most part, it works. If my kids spend the day fighting each other over silly stuff, sometimes it’s an indicator that mine is the story that needs to change. Parents are oftentimes the trendsetters for the story whether they know it or not. We create the environment, the setting, and even sometimes the plot. We become the scary villain or the hero depending on our attitude, and our kids will usually follow our lead.
Be introspective, allow your family to reveal what’s going on in your own home. Look at everyone’s faces; look at your own. Are they enjoying their lives, are you enjoying yours? Know the story that is already being told and if you want it to change, think of where you want it to go and then tell it. You do so through your actions as well as your words. It can be as epic as you want it to be. Remember, it’s not only your life but the lives of all who live with you. Invite God to be the main character, let Him create the environment, the setting, the plot. Start your own Family Spirit Fires and may you be blessed with the life-giving heat they provide.
Don’t be afraid. Change can be difficult, it can also be refreshing. If you’re still breathing, it’s not too late. Be brave, be bold! For your family’s sake and for your own, change the story!