The Power of Story Telling to Children
There are many ways to educate our kids without having to patronize them or to force them to love Allah, Subhaanahu wa ta’ala, and His Messenger.
Children can successfully be taught to love the Quran and hadith, to love Islam as our true religion. How to be well behaved, how to have a virtuous, noble character, how to have respect for parents, and so on and so forth when parents understand the nature of their own children. Certainly any advice and regulations are rarely violated by them and fairy tales are one sure-fire way to embed a simple education in children.
aMuslima recently visited an Indonesian school for children in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia which invited a storyteller from Indonesia. Brother Bimo is a popular figure among Indonesian children because he is a master in imitating sounds and voices like those of a child, a grandmother / grandfather, animals, a helicopter, a car, and an ambulance. His animated interactions make the children excited about following the story. And inadvertently absorbed the lessons delivered through the story.
As an example, Brother Bimo created a story about 2 children who behaved differently. One child was a diligent boy who performed prayer 5 times daily and helped the elderly while the other is described as a slacker boy who rarely prayed and liked to steal sandals in mosques (heheh). Then, after the end of the day, an angel gave them reports. The child who diligently practiced prayer is able to accept his report with his right hand, while the lazy boy cannot lift his right hand and only his left hand is able to accept the deed report. At the end of the story the two children must cross the bridge to the heaven / hell which will appear spacious and easily passed for a good boy, and will be very narrow (width of a hair divided by 7) and barely passable for a lazy boy.
As parents, we may not have such story-telling capabilities, but telling stories or reading books to children before bed can provide many benefits. Some of the benefits of storytelling to children are:
- the increase of speech skills
- development of language skills
- the increase of good reading habits
- development of critical thinking skills
- improvement of problem solving skills
- stimulation of the imagination and creativity
- development of emotional responses
- introduction to moral values
- introduction of new ideas
Most importantly, reading and story-telling improves the emotional connection between parents and children. Do not forget to include Islamic teachings in your story such as eating and drinking with the right hand, praying before doing any activity, visiting a sick friend and so on.
So, let us encourage telling Islamic stories to our children.