The Power of Stories

I am contemplating renaming this blog “walks with a 5 year old” as walking Cai into school is giving me a lot of fodder for thought. The other morning he wanted to talk about “how to train your dragon.”

If you have been reading these posts regularly then you might have surmised that we do not allow our little boy much screen time; our reasoning being that we are hoping he nurtures a vivid imagination; one where he has to create his own images rather than adopt the ones presented on tv, in movies or on computer games / websites. The hardest part of this for him is that he often does not know what his friends are talking about. So picture this poor, deprived boy who has seen a movie before a number of his friends. Basically he is like the proverbial pig in poo and he is intent on acting out the role of “Hiccup the viking” and his dragon at any possible moment. Thankfully, since seeing the movie, we have also read the book which has a very different plot to the movie. (No guesses as to which I prefer.)

So as I said, we were engaging in the morning ritual of walking and talking into school and Cai wanted to tell me about how the story is true. Now I certainly did not wish to disillusion or argue with him, but the thought of vikings with Scottish accents living in a world of cliffy, sea stacks that make St. Kilda look like a tropical beach causes me shiver. I started to ask him which story (the movie or the book) were true. We then looked at how the story of Hiccup and how being kind to Toothless the dragon was similar to a lot of other stories. The “truth” of the story  being that an animal that was known for being selfish and feisty became friendly and selfless after being treated with unconditional love. This “truth” is the same as stories that we might find in the Bible or the teachings of Buddha, it is the basis of many novels and a lot of myths. Cai; who used to go to Dharma school when we lived in Anchorage, then proceeded to tell me the story of Prince Siddhartha and how he became the Buddha. He also informed me that it did not matter if the events had happened or not because the story was true. This has got me thinking a lot about what is the truth in the stories I tell.

When you distill it down, what is the truth in your favorite story?

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