Any Father Can Be a Story Teller
- Friday, January 18, 2002
Home schooling is a joint effort. Even the working father needs to make time to be involved with the teaching of his children. I've discovered one way that a father can maximize his time with his children by using the simple technology of a tape recorder.
Fathers can tell stories to their children on tape. In my experience, children between the ages of 2-10 love to listen to cassette tapes. The market place is flooded with tapes of stories and songs done by Christians; and while many are expensive, they have questionable quality and content. The most important aspect of a father making his own taped stories is that the content of the tape can be trusted.
The influence of cassette tapes is easily understood when you simply take time to watch your children. Children will turn on a tape and listen to it over and over and over again. They will know the characters in the story inside and out, and they seem to never tire of listening to the same tape one more time.
This provides an ideal opportunity for the father to have tremendous impact on his children. He can simply tell stories, ad lib, on tape. (Also, a father can read stories on tape, but I will not delve into that topic in this article.) At first, the concept may seem a little frightening to some fathers. However, you will find that not only will you do a good job, but also your children will love to listen to their daddy's stories on tape. This gives you an opportunity to help mold their character and give them instruction in many areas. At the same time, Dad, you'll be helping your wife in an important way in the training of your young children.
Obviously, there are sophisticated ways for you to tape stories for your children. However, I suggest a very simple way that takes no more time than the telling of the story. All you need is a basic tape recorder and some high-quality tapes. The tapes need to be high quality since your children will listen to them so often. If one of your taped stories breaks, the story will be lost forever.
By the way, there are timesaving ways to do stories for your children. I, for instance, have a long commute to work, so I am able to tell my children stories on tape during my drive time. They eagerly await my return from work on many days in the expectation of a new story that I have done.
Benefits of Story-Telling to Your Children
1. Through listening to tapes you have made, your children have the opportunity to learn key character qualities directly from their dad and apply them to their lives.
2. Your children will grow closer to their dad by sharing the story-telling time with him while listening to the tape repeatedly with their brothers and sisters. My six-year-old daughter Bethany said one of the reasons she likes my taped stories is because it shows I care about her!
3. Your children can gain knowledge from you on an array of topics, ranging from how to do something, to the consequences of disobedience, to historical truths and biblical principles.
4. These tapes can provide an opportunity for Mom and Dad to put the children to bed early with the lights out, so they can listen to the tapes and give Mom and Dad some extra time to themselves.
5. These tapes also give Mom an opportunity during the day to let the children calm down and have some time out listening to a tape, so she can get some other work done or spend time with older children.
6. These stories serve an ancillary purpose of helping fathers to articulate better, avoiding the "ah's" and "um's" so common in modern conversation.
7. If you are a dad, like I, whose job requires you to travel, your tapes give your children a chance to hear your voice and not miss you quite so much. This allows your children to still very connected with you, even when you are a continent apart!
In Parts 2 and 3 of this series, we will discuss the main ingredients of a good story, building character through stories, making a story exciting, and teaching skills through stories.Chris Klicka is Senior Counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as Director of State and International Relations. He is the author of several books, including The Right Choice. He and his wife Tracy home school their seven children.
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