I remember as a child listening to so many folktales and stories, usually told at night whenever there was a power outage in the neighborhood. All the kids would gather around kerosine lanterns, as mothers and fathers took turns to share their favourite Anansi stories, made unforgettable by the songs that accompanied them, as well as the zeal with which the stories were told.
There was always a moral to the story, some great wisdom to be welcomed or great peril to avoid. I know that these beautiful childhood moments captivated my imagination and gave me a sense of mystery and wonder about the world. I know that these stories made virtues of honesty, generosity, courage and wisdom an attractive and noble pursuit.
We have been telling a lot of stories lately to our kids. Ed loves history and is so good at telling the stories in such a way that you feel you are right there and he is wetting the kids and my appetite for more.
I have been telling the kids the story of my upbringing in Ghana and it’s been wonderful to see how engaged they have been hearing about my long playful childhood days and my favourite foods. Tonight instead of our usual bedtime story from a book, I told them the story of how their dad and I met, and time before their birth and they asked more questions than they have ever asked about that story. Such a rich time together.
We are not living in Ghana and we are unlikely to have a power outage that will force us to disconnect from all the noise of television and media. But it is my hope and desire that my kids will develop contentment in the simple things like the flickering lights from a candle and the familiar sounds of their parents sharing their stories.