Stories Are for Adults To Learn English
Very often when I tell someone I am a storyteller, they will say, “Oh, how nice. Do you tell stories to children in the schools and at the libraries?” Well, yes, I do tell stories to children of all ages, but I also tell stories to adults. And, in my opinion, adults need and want the stories even more than the children. In this article, I am going to address why we, as storytellers, tell to adults. I will be including some quotes and ideas from many other storytellers and story lovers.
Whether they admit it or not, it is the adults that hang on the storyteller’s words. When I have been hired to do a program at an event that will attract families — for example, a county or state fair, a museum benefit, an outdoor festival, or a family celebration — I notice as I tell my tales, that it is the adults who are hanging on every word. Yes, they use the excuse that they are there because they want their children to hear stories. Yet, when the children start to get restless or lose interest, it is the adults who seem disappointed and hesitant to leave the telling. They will often return without the child or children to hear some more for themselves. At the annual Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee the first week in October, close to 90 percent of the 10,000 strong crowd is adult. And the special magic of the event is that these adults are not afraid to admit that they come back year after year to hear the stories.
Remembering and telling stories helps adults deal with life’s challenges. Isak Dinesen wrote, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.” How true! If you have ever experienced an accident, an illness, a death, or some other horrible event, you know how much better you feel after telling about it — the more times, the better. And once we have shared our story or stories with other adults, they usually are reminded of a similar story that they then tell us. The