Recall a time when you heard a talk and was very inspired or moved. What was it that made the talk so compelling? How did it make you feel?
There is no formal subject in school about the art of storytelling. Yet, this could be the single most important skill that children should acquire to survive and thrive in today’s world and beyond.
Claudine Fernandez, Founder & Principal Instructor of Artistic Strategies Academy, shares how storytelling can empower children to be successful in their life.
1. We are constantly ‘selling’ our stories
Whether it is a job interview, a school interview or creating first impressions, we are constantly selling our stories. Recruiters today prefer looking at a potential employee’s LinkedIn profile rather than just his or her curriculum vitae.
A platform like LinkedIn provides employers with a more well-rounded picture of the candidates, as it tells a story about their professional life, instead of just listing out their achievements. A LinkedIn profile with a persuasive story about someone’s skills, expertise and background gives that person the edge.
When children are encouraged to tell their stories, it becomes second nature to them and will put them in good stead when they are applying for jobs.
2. An impactful way to voice our beliefs
Seth Godin, an American author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker is right to point out that effective stories are made only when they are authentic. There is no point spinning a story that does not originate from the real you.
Children have the advantage in this respect because they often say what they really mean and feel. A noteworthy example would be 9-year old Zianna Oliphant telling a heart-wrenching story about the effects of racism after police had shot a 43-year-old black man, Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte City, North Carolina, USA. The video of her story went viral and was watched by millions of people worldwide.
3. It makes you more confident
I have seen many students grow in their confidence after writing and publishing their own stories. These stories take different shapes and forms, from a detective being pranked on April Fools’ Day to a fairy and her cat embarking on a journey in a magical garden.
Seeing their ideas and words in print and being read and appreciated by others gives children meaningful satisfaction. They are reminded that their stories are important and this spurs them on to write and tell even more stories.
4. Giving a voice for others
In her famous TED Talk, “The Dangers of a Single Story“, novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, relates how she did not know that “people like her” (Nigerians, Africans) could be featured in literature because all the books that she had read had Western characters.
When children are encouraged to write about their own life experiences, they are not just representing themselves, but also others like them. Through their characters and narratives, children have the power to articulate their unique thoughts and give a voice to people in their community, cultural or ethnic group, that might otherwise not be heard.
5. Stories humanise
When we tell our personal stories, we are allowing others a glimpse into our lives and our world. We allow them to get to know us, empathise with our struggles and celebrate our victories vicariously through our stories. The impact is even greater when children tell their stories from the heart and imbues them with childlike innocence and purity.
The beauty of storytelling lies in the fact that any child can be nurtured to become an effective storyteller, given the right guidance and the right learning environment.
What stories would you want your child to tell?
Contributed by Claudine Fernandez, Founder & Principal Instructor of Artistic Strategies Academy