Have you ever babysat a toddler who is learning to pronounce and put words together to communicate a story? Well, I have. It’s fascinating, funny, and riotous.

I babysat my friends’ 18 months toddler – Joseph. Together, we sat on the steps of my kitchen. Joseph babbling along, and me? Trying to interpret the babbling. Suddenly, Joseph stood up, and heads towards a huge tree stump – the remnants of a 60-foot palm tree. Joseph closely examined the stump like a detective searching for clues. His eyes questioning, “What on earth is this?” He beat a quick retreat into my arms, questioning, “What’s that?” With quick thinking, I retrieved by mobile and showed him a video of the tree cutter, using a chain saw to slice the tree section by section, and each section tumbling to the ground. For the 90 seconds of the video, the eyes of this child were glued to the phone. I played it again, again, again, and each time his fascination intensified.

Fast forward! 

In the evening, Joseph’s parents video called me. Why? Joseph was telling a story saying, “Father Don. The tree fall down, bodoom, bodoom!” Of course, accompanied with dramatic actions.

As days go by, Joseph adds bits of pieces to his story – the man cut the tree and mimics the sound of the chain saw. The story of “the tree fall down, bodoom, bodoom” reverberated from Joseph’s lips for several weeks.

Storytelling! Pope Francis writes, “Human beings are storytellers.  From childhood we hunger for stories just as we hunger for food” (World Day of Communication 2020). With the upcoming synod, Pope Francis gives the Caribbean Church a space to tell our stories so that it becomes integrated into the tapestry of the Universal Church’s story.

“Our own story becomes part of every great story.” (Pope Francis).

Pope Francis’ final caution.  “So, it is not a matter of simply telling stories as such, or of advertising ourselves, but rather of remembering who and what we are in God’s eyes, bearing witness to what the Spirit writes in our hearts and revealing to everyone that his or her story contains marvellous things.”

Challenge. Create space and time to listen to someone’s story. Tell your story. Don’t be shy!

3 thoughts on “Storytelling

  1. Thank you for this wonderful reminder. In recent years i have come to similar conclusion: meaning comes through narative; story telling.


  2. Good advice to tell one’s story. So often profound events happen in our lives and we don’t document them


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