The Christmas frenzy turned your kids into bouncing balls of excitement and noise? The party is over and the children feel like it was too short? You’re dreaming of a grounded family activity that won’t require too much energy on your part?
Tales have accompanied us, humans, for thousands of years. Have you ever seen the curious and attentive glare of children listening to a tale? There is something about that we can’t explain, but what we know is that it speaks straight to a child’s understanding of the world.
A Christmas Present You’ll Find Perfect
For Christmas, I’m happy to offer you three tales I especially love. Over the years, I’ve used tales as a soothing activity, a catalyst for reflection a way to gather and reunite, a way to create bonds and memories, I even turned one into a play! You can listen to them, tell them, add music for dramatic effect, draw them, rewrite them,…
After a month of preparing Christmas, seeing it everywhere, hearing carols, smelling cinnamon, and seeing the red and green colors, the aftermath can feel very quiet and empty. This brutal shift is sometimes hard on children who have their excitement reaching the sky.
Now is the time to unwrap your Christmas present and receive THREE beautiful tales to share with your family. You can download the PDFs and read them aloud or you can play our audio recording and enjoy them together.
Here are your THREE fantastic tales to share with your family!
Tales, A Very Old Story
We used to think that most fairy tales went back to the 16th or 17th Century, but researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon could trace some of them as far as 5000 years old! The oldest tales we still tell today are The Smith And The Devil, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Beauty and The Beast.
Researchers are amazed that those tales could survive all those years without being written. They traveled the ancient world, changed languages, adapted to cultures, followed trade roads, and all this time, they taught their lessons to everyone who would listen to them. Isn’t it amazing to listen to a story and to know that other people, for hundreds of generations have been listening to?
In the 19th Century, the Grim brothers gathered many of those fairy tales and wrote them down, creating a rich and beautiful library of stories. We can find some in Greek and Latin, but researchers believe those tales to be older than those languages still. They probably originated from the elusive Indo-European language. English, French, and other European languages are all related to it, yet are now very far removed.
The Super Powers Of Tales
When a storyteller tells a story, there is first a physical rapprochement. traditionally, listeners gather in a circle around the storyteller. A psychological bond then develops as all the person’s present connect through a common experience. There are trust and generosity in storytelling: the teller shares and offers their energy to bring the story to life while the listeners share their emotions and reactions.
Telling stories is a nurturing act for the listener, who is connected to the storyteller through the story, as well as for the storyteller who is connected to the listeners through the story as well.
For children, tales are a very precious way to learn lessons, to explore fears, and to question through imagination. Bettelheim, a famous psychoanalyst who wrote “The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of FairyTales”, explains the correspondence between the fairy-tale world, and the experiences and thoughts of children.
For once, with fairy tales, children are the masters, because the truth of tales isn’t in normal causality but in imagination. There are many things that escape children’s comprehension, especially things that happen in the inner world, emotions, feelings, and questions. With fairy-tales, children can understand those inner conflicts and resolve them with their imagination.
“Fairy tales are important not because they show children how life is, but because they give form to deep fears and dreams about life through fantasy,”
-Goddard Blythe (director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology)
Your Present: 3 Tales From Around The World
It is quite hard to know where a tale comes from since they traveled so much over time. Still, cultures have their own tales, reflecting their values and challenges.
You can find African tales, Indian tales, Native American tales,… And each and every group within those categories will have their own spin too! It is Such a beautiful way to travel and discover different cultures, different ways of approaching challenges, love, pain, loss, growth, death…
Today I chose three tales that share a red herring: freedom. I’ll let you figure out how they explore this theme ;-).
The Blind Men And The Elephant
If you’ve been reading The Free Child Blog for a while, you know I like to fight limiting beliefs and limiting thoughts. Well, this tale is a beautiful experience for both you and your children to realize that there is always more than what our perception shows us.
I won’t tell you more for it is important to let a tale sink in and do its magic on a subconscious level without too much thinking at first!
Get ‘The Blind Men And The Elephant’ PDF for free right here!
Listen to the tale here!
The Jade Stone
Who should you listen to? Yourself or others? This tale reminds us to stay in tune with our bodies and our beliefs, no matter the external pressure. This tale is from China. I love to read tales from all around the world to my children. The names are different, as well as the food and drinks, the habits, and the houses. But, the emotional core is the same.
Besides the message of the tale, it is a great way to start a conversation about other cultures.
Get ‘The Jade Stone’ PDF for free right here!
Listen to the tale here!
The Fisherman And His Wife
This last tale seemed a great fit for Christmas in my opinion. Jesus taught about humility and simplicity. He never looked for a palace or for wealth. With this story, you can tell the same message from a different angle. It usually raises questions as children are quite astonished by the ending.
Triggering questioning is a great advantage of tales. Be mindful though, not to provoke a discussion or to anticipate questions (or even worse: answering questions that weren’t even asked!). Let the tale sink into children and let it grow there. If they ever have a question, they’ll come to you.
On this note, it is interesting to read a tale several times, as there is a lot of information in them. Also, as children grow up, they go through different inner struggles that might be enlightened by the subsequent reading of the tale.
Get ‘The Fisherman And His Wife’ PDF for free right here!
Listen to the tale here!
Thanks for reading this article! As always, I hope it offered you some positivity for your parenting!
Don’t let the inspiration fades and take action right away:
I wish you all the best with your kids, always remember that we all do the best we can at a given moment, and don’t judge yourself harshly. Be confident and listen to your intuition. If what you do comes from a place of love, then you’re on the right path.
See you next week for another exciting article!
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