As we begin 2017, I've been thinking a lot about the power of stories in our lives. Stories are uniquely human - no other animal (that we know of) tells stories. The act of storytelling helps us make meaning and connections with the world around us. Stories allow us to see things from another person's point of view, and imagine ourselves in a world different than the one around us.
Our audiences, ages 0-5, are still young enough that they are largely unaware of the tumultuous arguments happening in the adult world, arguments about health care, national security, climate change, and social justice. But we have seen what happens in the adult world when we are no longer able to see the world from others' points of view, when we are lack the imagination to see the world as different than our immediate experience.
At Spellbound, we believe that the young children in our audiences must be equipped so that when they enter the complex and contentious adult world, they are armed with critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. We are more committed than ever to providing storytelling experiences that invite children to stretch their imaginations, listen to and share with one another, and provide multiple points of view on how the world might be.
Storytelling is crucial to our ability to respond to a complex world, to make sense of diverse experiences and perspectives, and to see the potential for magic, transformation, and connection all around us. In the spirit of New Year's, I offer these three commitments for the children in our lives:
- Tell your children stories that are true, stories from a time your own life when you encountered an obstacle and were able to overcome it, and stories about other people who fought for justice and kindness in our world.
- Tell your children stories that are magical, stories that imagine our world more surprising, more adventurous, and more beautiful than the world we might see day to day. Inspire your children to find magic all around them.
- Listen to your children's stories. Ask them what they see, know, and understand, and listen attentively. Ask questions, and give them room to construct answers. Honor the stories they love and want to tell.
May 2017 be full of stories, surprise, and discovery! Your little ones are getting bigger and bigger each day, and it is an honor to be a part of their growth.
Happy New Year!
and the artists, staff, and Board of Spellbound Theatre