The Power of Storytelling

Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Today marks my 100th post on Tot Thoughts. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement! To celebrate this momentous event, today’s post is on the power of storytelling. Our life is the ultimate storytelling experience. Everything we do and say, our thoughts and feelings, the way we react to the world around us and interact with others, it all becomes a part of our unique human narrative, building the story of who we are. As with any story, what makes our story meaningful is the degree to which we can make the storytelling experience one that adds value to our life and that of those with whom we share it. What makes storytelling so powerful is that it gives us the tools to do that, it teaches us precisely how to develop a meaningful narrative. Briefly and broadly, a story consists of a character, a setting, and a plot (which can be broken down into a problem and a solution). A story will be meaningful to the extent that it presents a relatable character and a certain complexity in the story (through the plot) that prompts the development of that character. Now, we develop and flourish as individuals through the process of resolving complexity. Every time we solve a problem, we add a new dimension to our self, one that incorporates the skills we acquired in solving the problem. This new dimension gives us another way of engaging with the world around us and that adds value to our life. It is the ability to add value what makes something meaningful. The power of storytelling is that, on the one hand, to the extent that the reader can relate to the character’s journey, he or she experiences this constructive process vicariously and upon internalizing it, is able to add that new dimension to his or her life. On the other hand, the storyteller is given the opportunity to add value to another’s life (the reader) by designing a unique complexity and guiding the reader through its resolution. As you know, a key focus of mine is on empowering children through the use of their intelligence and imagination. I believe that storytelling is one of the most effective ways of doing so. Our intelligence, allows us to experience different ways of perceiving, understanding and communicating information. From a storytelling standpoint, this helps us to not only identify the building blocks for our narrative complexity but to understand the resources at our disposal to resolve it. Our imagination propels us to envision ways of applying that information to transcend our current situation. In a story setting, it allows us to create complexity and envision resolutions to it. With this all in mind, I am excited to announce a new storytelling initiative that I am spearheading. The project is called Rock Thoughts. The rules are simple, participants paint “monster” rocks and hide them in public spaces for others to find. The finders of those rocks submit a story that relates to the rock they found. Those stories are uploaded onto our site and then the rocks are re-hidden for someone else to find and continue the narrative. Users are invited to comment on the stories on the site and help the storytellers expand upon them generating a collaborative storytelling experience. What I seek to achieve with this is simply to encourage children to connect with others in a meaningful way through storytelling. While the project is intended to serve as an inspiration to children, it is open to storytellers of all ages. If you are interested in getting involved, please send me an email at...

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2011 in Blog, Humor, Uncategorized | 8 comments

Today is the Negotiator’s seventh birthday, my first baby. He laughed so hard when I wished him a “Merry Christmas” this morning. What a way to begin my day! In honor of this little man, I bring you today’s post. Out of the blue last night, the Negotiator began to tell me about a friend of his who’s baby brother passed away after a few days home from the hospital. I don’t know the details but I gathered the baby was ill when they brought him home and he died in his sleep one night. He said that his friend’s family woke the next morning and they couldn’t hear the baby crying and that’s how they knew he had died. That sentiment – that the sign of life is marked by our ability to cry – was such a big emotion for him to capture that it took me by surprise. He went on talking about the baby and how sad his friend was so I said, “it sounds as if this story upset you…?” “Yes, It did.” “Why do you think that is?” “Well, because X is my friend and the most wonderful thing in life that a person can hear is the sound of his baby crying and X can’t hear that.” I didn’t know what to say so he went on, “everybody should get to have a baby brother and X doesn’t have one anymore.” When I woke up at 4:30 this morning to the baby’s cry of hunger, I couldn’t help but think back to this story and be so immensely grateful to hear the shrill cry of life coming from the next room. Thank you, big brother, for reminding us on this day – your birthday – about what is truly important in life. © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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Spring Break

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in Blog, Humor, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Today marks the end of spring break week for the Negotiator. It entailed a lot of play dates, art projects, reading Harry Potter, watching favorites shows, playing Wii and Wild Kratts and doing this: [youtube]

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Daddy’s day off

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in Blog, Humor, Uncategorized | 4 comments

As a gift for successfully completing ten years of marriage intact, my lovely in-laws graciously agreed to take the Negotiator and the Diva for the weekend so Daddy and I could have some “time off” (not entirely since we still had the baby but really, that baby can raise himself). Now, as I am sure many of you can appreciate, there is a vast array of things that one can do on a day off: read, work-out, play the piano, watch a movie, shower (!), get a massage, climb a mountain, go hang-gliding, take a hot air balloon ride, swim with dolphins, or even nothing at all. Daddy, however, chose to use his day off doing this (original quote included):                     You can take the kids away from Daddy but you’re not likely to take the kid out of him. 🙂 Here’s to another 10 years of...

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My Life as Chronicled by Centerpieces

Posted by on Mar 12, 2011 in Blog, Humor | 1 comment

Ok so this post is not about my whole life because frankly, centerpieces aren’t that interesting but bear with me. It goes something like this: Period of my life –> centerpiece. Enjoy! College –> John Rawls on a weekday and Franzia on the weekend. Post-college year in Japan –> the week’s ikebana courtesy of my friend Beth. Pre-marriage, fresh from Japan with about $1,000 to my name and not really able to afford a centerpiece –> all of my bills for things I could ill-afford. Post-marriage, flushed with love and money –> fresh flowers every week. First child, cramped in 450 sq. ft. apt. with Mexicans and Russians and forced to use a spare TV stand and the only flat surface in the apartment as a dinning table/dresser/diaper-holder/occasional changing table –> whatever happened to be on it at the time. Second child –> this period is a blur, I don’t remember living through it, let alone what I had on my table. Third child –> the...

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Posted by on Feb 26, 2011 in Blog, Humor | 2 comments

Ok, so I couldn’t resist adding a bonus post for today. This is what I overheard in the kitchen this morning: Diva: Daddy!!! Daddy: what is it sweetie? Diva: [the Negotiator] said [whatever – this is really irrelevant to the story] and then I said “nuh-uh” and then he said “uh-huh” and then I said “nuh-uh” and then he said “uh-huh” and then I said “nuh-uh” and then he said “uh-huh” and then I said “nuh-uh” and then he said “uh-huh” and then I said “nuh-uh” and then he said “uh-huh!” Daddy: (silence followed by uncontrollable laughter) I quoted the Diva verbatim, no joke. This is what we live with. 🙂 © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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