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The Stories We Tell by Andrew Nash

My 4-year-olds have been “reading” comic books starring the Marvel superhero Squirrel Girl at night lately. Evie recently drew a picture of Squirrel Girl on her own. I never planned for them to like Squirrel Girl, but I’m glad they do.

That’s because although the stories can get nuts (pun intended), there are important subtle lessons for both of my kids to learn: Women can be strong and bold, problems can usually be solved through empathy and conversation instead of fighting, and it’s important to recognize the fun in what you do.

I bring this up because NPR did a recent story about how different Inuit parenting is. The first rule of Inuit parenting, they said, is not to yell. Instead of yelling, they instill discipline in their children through storytelling.

Instead of yelling to keep away from the frigid water, they tell stories of sea monsters that will grab kids who get too close. Instead of the parents hollering to kids to put their hats on, they instead remind kids of the stories of how the Northern lights will come and play ball with uncovered heads.

I’m trying to adopt some of those principles at home, but it has instead made me think about a bigger picture besides just my own home.

It’s made me think about the power of the stories we tell our children and the effect it can have on them. We tell numerous stories about heroes of the Old and New Testament, like Daniel, David, Jesus, and Paul.

But what about the stories we tell of our church and our denomination? What stories are we teaching about the people and the decisions that have been made in the last 175 years?

The church history book recently published, “I’ll Second That!,” is filled with our own myth-making stories. There are moral lessons about kindness, generosity, hospitality, and difficult choices. Our storybook is written. It’s up to us to tell those stories to the next generation to pass on the right lessons like the Inuit.

So when Squirrel Girl goes back to the library, maybe we’ll crack a different book about the Mosses, the Steincrosses, and the Tutts. 

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