The Jews and other ancient societies passed on their stories, traditions and history to their children:
‘Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’ (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Tell your story: We all have a unique story to tell – lessons we’ve learnt, experiences we’ve enjoyed, challenges we’ve overcome. Many devalue their story, think they’ve nothing to say, feel they’re insignificant. I believe they’re wrong!
Some friends with dementia can’t remember what happened yesterday, but still want to tell their story – happy memories, significant achievements, people, places…
…in the community: Popular culture is self-centred, emphasising self-protection, self-fulfilment, self-discovery…
Telling my story includes others, relationships, how I fit in with those around me, how others have given me opportunities, picked me up when I have fallen… I’m not alone. There is a bigger picture. I tell my story, including others, to those around me.
…to children: ‘I takes a village to raise a child.’ Home schooling isn’t just for covid. It’s for life… involving family, friends and the wider community.
Some believe we need ‘experts’ to bring up children. Churches, for example, act as if the priority for young people is youth specialists, relevant programmes and fun.
I think they’re mistaken. The whole church community must value and take responsibility for our children. Tell your story. Tell our story. Listen to theirs. Include everybody.
In Alan Bennet’s ‘The History Boys’, the eccentric teacher Hector gives this final advice to his students:
‘Pass the parcel. That’s sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That’s the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.’
Tell your story. Pass it on.