Children are hardwired for stories. When you think about it, we all are. Jesus told “parables”, also known as stories. They teach us about life, what is right and wrong, and show us what courage and evil look like. But what about the stories we tell our grandchildren? How much value do they have?
The stories we have to share will shape who they are.
When I was a child, I struggled with being adopted. For me, that just meant that I wasn’t wanted by my “real” mother. That weighed heavily on me. Just as it does with many, if not most, adopted children.
My adoption was never a secret from me. When my parents talked about me as a baby, they inserted “when we got you” for “when you were born.” I’m thankful for the way they presented my adoption. I never had to find out a secret truth, it was always there for me.
Still, there are questions every child has. It wasn’t until one night, laying next to my grandmother, that my worries were explained.
“Most parents,” she told me, “just have their babies. They don’t get to pick if they want a girl or a boy. They don’t get to see their baby and choose one they want to keep.”
“Your mommy and daddy,” she went on to say, “chose you. You were the baby they wanted. You belong to our family. We not only wanted you, but we prayed you would come into our lives, long before you were born.”
Then she went on to tell me all about the day they picked me up from the orphanage. Yes. Orphanage. You don’t hear that word much anymore. But when my grandma told me the story of my entrance into the family by contrasting the words “orphanage” and “chose,” it colored my perception of my worth.
My grandfather would tell us stories about raising a family of six children during the depression. My mother told us how my grandfather had never gone without work, even in the harsh cruel days that followed the stock market crash. That it was because my grandfather had a reputation for being a hard-working man.
As I grew into an adult and wanted to add more children to our growing family, I remembered the stories my grandfather told me. They shaped how I viewed hard work. And because I admired my aunts and uncles for their kindness and honesty, I wasn’t afraid of having a large family. Even in hard times.