I was having a bit of a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm to write this blog this month. For many of us, it’s almost “the end of the year” and frankly we’re exhausted. To say this year has been challenging for most of us would be something of an understatement. But then I started reading about the monthly theme, looking for some inspiration from the Soulful Home packet. Story. What is a worship service if not a collaborative story? The ministers, religious educators, worship associates, music director, musicians, and other worship participants all work together to tell a story every week. Not to mention our fabulous tech people who actually stitch the story together for our recorded services. We tell stories in religious education all the time. You can find the story of what’s happening at UUCA in the eNews every week. Currently, staff and other church leaders are embarking on writing our annual report, which is our story of this year at UUCA. It turns out that almost everything we do here at UUCA is related to stories and telling them.

Spend some time with your family this month exploring our theme of Story using some of the suggestions below. I know that you’re worn out and it might seem like a difficult task right now, but consider just spending 10 minutes with some of the discussion questions over dinner one night, or listen to The Moth in the car together on the way to or from school. What is your family’s story?

Kim Collins, LREC

Family Dinner Discussion Questions

  1. What’s the first story you remember hearing (could be a family story, a folk tale, a ballad, etc.)?
  2. What happens in your mind when you hear a story? (Examples might be picturing the characters, imagining yourself sitting in the setting and watching what happens, smelling smells and hearing sounds, trying to figure out how the story will end, imagining yourself as one of the characters, etc.)
  3. If your experiences  last month had a title, what would that title be?
  4. How would you describe the story of Unitarian Universalism? A hero story? Detective story? Love story? 
  5. Where do you think stories came from?
  6. Who’s usually the storyteller in your family? Who’s most likely to add embellishments and exaggerations to make the story really memorable?
  7. What makes a really good story?
  8. Whose story are you curious to know?
  9. If you could go back in time and ask a historical figure to tell you stories about their lives, who would you pick?
  10. What are the ways we tell stories without words?
  11. Have you ever been healed by a story?

At the Bedside: The Storytelling Stone, by Joseph Bruchac

The night you decide to tell this story, bring a couple of smooth stones with you to your child’s room. Begin by handing a stone to your child, and asking them about it. What does it feel like? How old do you suppose it is? If a stone had a spirit, what might that spirit have to say? Then, you are ready to begin.

Joseph Bruchac is a storyteller, author, and poet, and a Nulhegan Abenaki citizen. “The Storytelling Stone” is well loved among his many stories and writings, and tells about Grandfather Stone and the formation of the first storyteller, young Crow. 

You can find the full text of the story here, excerpted from Bruchac’s book, Return of the Sun: Native American Tales from the Northeast Woodlands, Crossing Press, 1989. 

For Discussion:

  • Why do you think the people liked the stories so much? What do you like about stories?
  • How did stories change Gah-ka’s life? How did Gah-ka change the stories?
  • What kinds of stories are your favorite to tell? Which are your favorite to hear?

The Moth 

The Moth is a public radio program featuring truly wonderful storytelling, mostly from non-professional storytellers. As a family, you might particularly enjoy “All at Sea” by Tim FitzHigham, or “Great Balls of Sugar” by Lizzie Peabody. 

Activities are curated from Soulful Home packets which are prepared by

Teresa Honey Youngblood