Today, I told my children a story, but not like the one from yesterday. Instead of reading a book that someone else wrote, I told them a story from the pages of my own childhood.
As we made the video for my Day 6 recap, I started recollecting a fond memory from my younger days. When I was around 12 or 13, there was a video rental store about a few miles from my house that rented out video cameras in addition to movies. Yes, the VHS camcorders, with the big fuzzy microphones, looking more like a rocket launcher than an electronic device:
A friend and I, on at least a few occasions, pooled our collective allowance money together and rented one of these beasts so that we could make movies of our own. We would write scripts, create storyboards, and spend an entire weekend putting together epic tales of haunted houses, ghost puppies, and even the occasional improv newscast, reminiscent of an amateur Ron Burgundy.
Truth was, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing, but we had the time of our lives pretending we did. Often, we believed that our skill might land us a spot on America’s Funniest Home Videos, but sadly, that dream fizzled and never quite materialized.
As I recounted these stories to my children, their eyes lit up. I could see them thinking about how they might do the same thing. My daughter even asked if I would help her make a movie of her own. Eventually, we would go on to try our hand at stop-motion animation of a Star Wars based father-child scene, where Vader teaches a young stormtrooper how to ride a bicycle.
The importance of sharing these stories cannot be overstated. Sharing these stories with our children helps them to see that we were once young ourselves, and that we have not always been parents. It helps them realize that we understand what childhood is like, but at the same time, it helps us, as parents, remember what our children are going through. In that sense, this art of storytelling develops a mutual sense of empathy.
One of the lesser side effects is that these stories may eventually find their way to our children’s dinner tables, decades down the road, as they share these tales with their children. Of course, they may be embellished and exaggerated, but then again…
…that’s how legends are born.