In our culture of high-speed Internet, cut-away video and rapid sound bites, it's not easy to get kids to sit still for more than a few minutes. But pull out a storybook and even the biggest kid will curl up next to you on the sofa.
Stories are a powerful way to connect with kids. They're used to pass down a family's faith from one generation to the next. They're used to teach morals and values. And sometimes, they're just plain fun.
William Bennett knows the power of a story. The former United States Secretary of Education, Bennett recently released The Child's Book of Faith (Random House), a collection of his favorite inspirational stories. The book is a mix of Bible stories, fables, and historical tales, all with one common theme: building a child's faith. The author of The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass (both from Simon & Schuster), Bennett knows the importance of strong faith. His books have played a major role in bringing about the current interest in instilling character in children. He currently serves as co-director of Empower America, an organization devoted in part to rebuilding the moral and educational foundation of this country. We recently sat down with Bennett in his Washington, D.C. office to talk about the value of storytelling.
CPT: Why are you drawn to stories as a teaching tool?
Bennett: Believe it or not, the story is really a very theological tool. God created us as very imaginative creatures. When we read the Bible we read a story. The Incarnation is a story: the Word made flesh. The story of Christ is the greatest story ever told. It's not a matter of coincidence that stories work for us.1