This past few weeks, I have been watching and listening to my adult children: the discussions, hearing the values embraced and been aware of the world view and morality they hold. I honestly marvel sometimes because in a normal day, I probably would not have felt like they were necessarily listening to me closely. Yet, now, they are holding fast to what we taught and discussed day in and day out. Nathan and I had some sweet conversations about it when he was home.
As a boy Nathan’s favorite time of our homeschooling day was when we would sit down in our living room: mom on the couch, him spread out on the floor, head propped up by hands. I would read out loud through classic stories, fiction, biographies, and Bible stories. . I read to him often and for long hours at a time. As a young rambunctious boy who struggled with learning disabilities like dyslexia, and a diagnosis of ADHD, his little body constantly was constantly wriggling, reading by himself was hard for him. But there was something in him that craved good stories about heroes. I would give him a piece of paper and some colored pencils and tell him to draw and color what we read. And here we would stay for hours.
Now decades later I see that those stories weren’t random, but instead meaningful in his young heart. Nathan took all the tales of heroes I read to him and decided he wanted to be a hero in his own story. Nathan now works as an actor, author, and filmmaker bring to life his own stories, the ones he is passionate about, all inspired by this e precious countless hours we spent reading. Very soon he will be launching another movie with a great story—I will keep you posted.
Stories are important. Humans have been hard wired to love and see all of life in the context of arc and narrative. God created us to connect to stories, which is why much of scripture is told through the art of story, and much of Jesus teaching was shared through them.
Stories have the power to change, inspire, teach, and show us things that nothing else has the power to do. And in the hearts of our children they are a invaluable tool to giving them a vision for the story their lives can tell and the heroes God has made them to be.
Many of us have heard this before, but I have seen that it was true in Nathan’s life because he is an adult and can verbalize what it meant to him. Good stories combat the modern mentality that everything is random and doesn’t really matter. Good stories say that our choices are eternally important and we have been written into a story and have the opportunity to play an important part in it.
In our home we have a library (that really needs to be sorted—literally thousands of books!)) filled to the brim with books about heroes, historical, figure, and inspiring tales, so that all of our children growing up would have consistent access to great stories in our home. We did this with the belief that if they were exposed to great figures existing in great stories they themselves would be given a vision for being heroes in the story in which God has placed them.
Today in my podcast, I sat down with Nathan and talked about why good stories were so important to him as a boy and how they helped him find a vision for growing into a good man.
Also, you can read Nathan’s and my best selling memoir about Nathan growing up as an “outside-the-box” kid and how God guided me to love him. It’s called Different and you can pick up a copy here.
Podcast with Nathan Clarkson (http://www.nathanclarkson.me) was so much fun to do. The Bible study guide is great for your children’s devotionals. We cover different heroes in the Bible and how God used them within the framework of their unique personalities and skills. Enjoy!