Friday, November 19, 2010

The Story of Jonah, from the Mouth of Babes

This is one of the most extraordinary things I've seen in a long time:

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

When I was working on my Certification in Catechetics at FUS, one of the things we had to do was tell a catechetical story. Telling stories as a method of teaching is very effective with children. St. John Bosco and Archbishop Fulton Sheen are two catechists who used the art of story telling to great success. Sheen entertained prime-time audiences on a weekly basis by utilizing that technique (and of course his booming voice and his great presence on camera). Telling a good story that teaches a lesson is something that every good catechist should know how to do.

For my class, we could either come up with our own story or memorize a story that has already been written and deliver it to the class. We couldn't just memorize it either. We had to actually tell it, in an engaging way, so that our intended audience would be entertained while at the same time learning the lesson of the story.

It was one of the more difficult things I had to do as a student. I spent HOURS first memorizing the story, then utilizing different voices and even contorting my body to take on certain characters. One thing I had to get over was feeling so silly while I did it. "Am I really doing this right now?"

I think I could have learned a few lessons from the girl in this video. Her innocence and playfulness adds an endearing quality to a story that we all know. And even though we all know how the story goes, since this girl is telling it so charmingly, I have no doubt that she had everyone in the audience wanting to hear it again (except, of course, for the teenage girl behind her, who is probably realizing that she's about to lose a speech contest to a 4 year old.) I think this video is just a great example of what happens when pride isn't an issue, when a person can just tell a story with passion and dedication.

I think this video also illustrates the power that the great moments of the Bible can still have in our lives. Parents run for the "next great children's book" at Books-A-Million and they forget that the big thick book collecting dust on the shelf has all the great stories a parent could ever need. Nothing ignites awe in children like a great bible story.

The word of God: ever ancient and ever new. Praise God for His word!

Pax Christi,

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