Engaging Culture

Children and the Power of Your Family Story

If you’re a creative professional, I urge you to read Bobette Buster’s book “Do Story: How to Tell Your Story so the World Listens.” It’s a small book, but packed with important information about how to be a better storyteller and why it matters. One of the most interesting things Bobette points out is the importance of “story” for children. And she’s not just talking about the power of “stories” – but the importance of sharing your family story.

She describes a ground-breaking study called, “Do You Know?” created by psychologist Dr. Marshall Duke of Emory University and his colleague, Dr. Robyn Fivush. The study revealed that the single best predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness is story. They describe “story” as his or her own family’s story. Bobette writes, “Apparently, the more a child knows his family’s story – in other words, the better informed he is about his wider family and obstacles they have overcome in order to survive and thrive – the stronger a child’s sense of control over his life, the higher his self esteem.”

When was the last time you sat down with your children and told them your family story?  I mentioned an event from my family’s life last night to my 30 year old daughter and was surprised she had never heard it before. Apparently, I have more family storytelling to do…

Take the time.  Sharing your family’s history and story to your children – and doing it again and again – could be one of the most important things you’ll ever do for them.

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  1. Thank you for recommending this book. As a preacher it is very interesting: People listen better if you tell the bible story rather than just reading the bible text. We not only have a message but we are a message for the people.

  2. This is a great encouragement. My kids want to tell me stories all the time. I’m thinking that is a good opportunity to share our larger family story with them… and I’ll bet that it isn’t just the kids who will benefit.

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