Parents’ Self-Improvement | Millions of Stories

I’m convinced that books and stories are great tools to help children empower themselves and stay happy regardless of what life brings at them.

The same hold true for adults and parents in particular. You will find below some very useful resources I’ve used myself. My hope is that those resources became as helpful for you as they were for me.

Enjoy!

Click here to view those resources : Parents’ Self-Improvement | Millions of Stories.

Pets Contest – New Generation

Pet Costume Contest 2009 - 103

Pet Costume Contest 2009 – 103 (Photo credit: sean94110)

Imagine yourself preparing you pet for a beauty contest… Have you seen any of these beauty contest for pets already? Everyone did, at least on TV. To bring your pet there, you need to spent several hours training it, preparing it. That requires lot of work for sure…

Read more…

Everyone like to be told stories

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story (Photo credit: heraldpost)

Yesterday, my daughter recall me an important fact. We all like to be told stories! Of course, toddlers loves to sit on their parents laps to listen to a cute bedtime stories. However, we often forget that older children also loved to be told stories.

Those who follow me for a while know that my daughter loves to read. She learned to read only last year, but she is now reading, reading and reading every single book she can encounter. Therefore, since about 1 year, I didn’t tell her any story myself. She is just able to read on her own.

Yesterday she had a brilliant idea. She asked me to tell her a story. I was a bit surprised, but I loved the idea. So she brought a book and I started to read. That was a beautiful moment just between me and her. It was funny for me to see how the interaction was different between us, than the interaction I have with her little brother in similar circumstances. While I was reading, my daughter was asking me the meaning of the most complicated words. At other times, she was correcting my reading and from time to time both of us were commenting on what was happening in the story. We just had a lot of fun together.

Then, after the first chapter, I got a bit tired and asked her to read the next chapter. What was my surprise to hear her reading aloud to me! She was so proud to read for me. Honestly, she was reading very very well. She was reading loud with expression, sometimes changing the voices for the different characters. That was a huge change compared to how she speaks on day to day. She usually speaks very softly. It was then my turn to feel so proud of her.

Apparently, she enjoyed the experience as much as I did because, again today, she asked me to read for her and she read for me.

For me, this was yet another time when a story had created a beautiful moment between a girl and her father.

Have you though of offering to read a story to your older children lately? If not, try do so at the most appropriate moment. They might be surprised of the offer and you might be surprised of the answer!

Tell a story, make a child happy, and get a link back as a reward!

Story time in a kindergarten classroom in Mari...

Story time in a kindergarten classroom in Marina, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing the immense success I’m having so far in getting people tell stories to children around them, I started to think of ways to make the process even easier and to give some reward to those willing to do the extra step of registering with us after telling a story to a child close to them.

I’m perfectly conscious that most of you who read my posts may already tell stories to their own children or to their close little ones relatives . So why would you bother to register to my blog and tell me that, right? Isn’t everybody reading stories to their kids anyway? Well, according to a study of the University of California, only 47.8% of children between birth and the age of 5 are read to everyday by their parents in the United States. I have to admit, this is a study dated of 2007, but quite honestly, do you really believe this has improved since then? I don’t.

All this to say, that the very first phase of the Millions of Stories project is to raise awareness around this fact. To do so, we need something big, we need a lot of persons unifying together behind a huge and noticeable goal, i.e. telling 1 millions of stories to children all around the world.

Skeptics, now I hear you thinking : “1 millions of stories that’s already impossible to achieve and now he talks about this as being the first phase or the project? Crazy!”. No, no, I’m not crazy, I strongly believe this can happen and that once this first phase is completed, a world of possibilities will then open in order to further expand to bigger events, such as many Storytelling Events if you recall one of my first post about those.

But, back to earth now, we need to start with the first milestone. It’s very easy, trust me. I just need 6 more persons, 1 per continent, willing to tell a story to a child and register with us. I already got North America covered, but nonetheless, I’m still accepting registration from there too. The next step is to ensure coverage in every country after all!

To make it easier and more anonymous, in case this can be a concern for anyone, I created an easy-to-fill form for registering.. The only 3 questions to fill are the following:

  • Which story did you tell to a child for this project?
  • In which continent are you based?
  • In which country are you based?

You don’t even have to provide your name, e-mail or any personal information! This project is not about collecting your personal information, it’s about telling stories to children and making them happy, that’s all! That reminds me one of my tweet few days ago : “I have nothing to sell, just happiness to giveaway!”. That’s true! 🙂

The questions regarding the continent and country are simply to allow me to keep track of progress through the goal because, not only do I want to have 1 million stories told all around the world, but I want to have at least 1 story told in each and every country and therefore in each and every continent as well. That includes Antarctica!

Finally, last but not least, the reward! That’s right, there is a reward. As you register, if you provide a link to your web site or blog, I promise to post at least one link back to your site in a summary post about the project progress. I may even post it multiple times if it is relevant to some of my other posts. Think of this link-back as being an investment. Today, because this project is starting, the net result may not be that big, but just imagine what my search-engine ranking (and therefore yours) will be when the goal will be reached! Think it through carefully before passing by this great opportunity!

So, really, registering with us becomes a win-win-win situation. By order of importance…

  1. Win for a child who got to share an happy storytelling moment
  2. Win for you with an increased score in search-engine ranking
  3. Win for the project Millions of Stories in getting closer to its ultimate goal.

What are you waiting for then? Tell a story, any nice story, to a child and : Be part of It, Join Us!

Moral Stories for Children : The Fables of La Fontaine, or Icky Little Duckling?

English: Still taken from the 1950ties childre...

English: Still taken from the 1950ties children TV program “The Fables of La Fontaine” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written 3 posts about moral stories for children, or more precisely about stories from which children can learn something for their life. Actually, I believe that children can actually learn and benefit from any kind of story, not just those more commonly called “moral stories”. That’s why the dream I’m pursuing is to tell millions of stories to children all around the world and have a positive impact in their life.

After doing some research specific around moral stories, I realize that most of them are not so tailored for today’s children. Some of those stories are so short (few lines) that they don’t even let time for the child to get absorbed by the story and its characters. Others stories tell the moral so explicitly at the end of the story that it almost vanished the whole point of a story. Think about it, there is just no difference between saying to your kids : “be kind with your friends” and telling them one of those moral stories. The message gets into by one ear and goes out by the other! The moral needs to be more subtle to have a real impact on your child.

Seriously, children learns by example. They need to be able to identify themselves with a character in the story. They need to live the adventures along with this character and feel the same as the character feels, in order to realize and learn the same the character learns in that story.

Your little boy needs to become Mr. Rabbit, live in the big mess made by the baby duckling in his house, feel sad after the little duckling goes back to her mother, and then feel so happy when going out to invite all the duckling’s family back to his house for a big messy party!

My child need to become Scaredy Squirrel, live in a boring tree, do the same thing over and over again each day, be scared of the KILLER BEE! passing by, then be confused as his safety evacuation plan fall apart, then feel amazed, surprised, courageous, invincible when he realize he can fly (oupps,,, i told you the punch!) and then proud of himself to figure out that the unknown is not as scary as he imagined.

This other little girl needs to become Tara, to feel the fear of going to swim in the so big ocean, to feel pain of staying alone playing in the sand while all her friends are having fun swimming in the ocean, to feel better when starting to think of all courageous things she did in the past, then feel stronger and stronger the more she finds examples of her being courageous, and finally to feel proud of deciding on her own to go swimming with her friends!

This is, in my opinion, what moral stories for children are really about in today’s society. Although I have plenty of respect for Mr. De La Fontaine, it’s just great to see contemporary authors of children stories writing nice “moral” stories adapted for today’s kids. Cheers to you authors! Our kids will have a better life partly because of you!

Now your turn… What kind of moral stories do you prefer yourself for your little ones? What kind of stories do they prefer (isn’t that the most important after all? 🙂 ). Do you think that old-fashioned moral stories still have a place in today’s society?

Parents, authors, bloggers… share up your thoughts!

Going to the beach? Switch your mind to be courageous like Tara!

ocean

ocean (Photo credit: Stephen Edgar – Netweb)

Have you lately been in a situation you wanted to change? A boring party maybe? Being nervous about a presentation you need to do in few minutes? Or the fear of going to swim in the ocean maybe? You can change this quickly… Read on to know how!

Yesterday, I read to my son the story “The Dinofours, It’s Beach Day!” by Steven Metzger and Hans Wilhelm. It stroked me how similar it is to something I learned and applied recently in my own life, that is : I can always and quickly change the way I perceive any situation. It is my own and sole decision to change it or to not change it. Isn’t that powerful? It’s easy! Read on to know how…

“The Dinofours are going to the beach for the very first time. They are all excited but somewhat afraid also to go swimming in the immense ocean. Everyone in the class is saying that Tara will for sure go first because she is never afraid of anything. However, it turned out that Tara is afraid of the ocean! She finds herself very small compared to the big ocean and do not want to go swimming in there. While everyone else ends up going, Tara stays alone on the beach, playing in the sand, looking at others having fun. After a while, she starts thinking of a few occasions in her life where she has been brave and courageous. She found an example, then 2, then more and more and more! She begins to feel better, to think that after all, she can also go and have fun with her friends in the ocean! She says in herself ; “I’m courageous, I can swim in the ocean!”, then she wakes up, starts walking through the water, put a feet in, then go deeper and start swimming! She become very proud of her and have lots of fun with her friends!”

When you think of it, nothing around Tara has changed in this story from the beginning to the end. The ocean is the same, not better, not worst, her friends were and are still swimming and having fun. What changed then to make Tara decides that she was now able to go? Only her thoughts have changed. Only the way she decided to see the situation has changed. That actually made a huge difference on how she was able to approach and overcome her fears.

This can be applied not only to fears but to any situation you would like to change. Just start thinking on how you want to feel rather than focusing on how you feel now. Start feeling how you want to feel, amplify it by speaking to yourself like Tara did. That’s the key! Think “I’m courageous!” instead of “I’m afraid!”.

By applying this simple technique myself, I’ve been able to turn a boring office Christmas party into one of the best party I ever had. I have been able to do an excellent presentation in which I felt confident and in complete control. By teaching this technique to my daughter, she has been able to improve drastically how loud she speaks in front of her class. She has been able to control her pain once she hurt herself very bad while doing bicycle. And there is so many other examples… it’s just unbelievable how simple and effective this technique is.

Give it a try yourself… when you do not like a situation you are in, start thinking on how you want to feel about it instead. Tell it to yourself like Tara : “I’m courageous, I can swim in the ocean!”. Convince yourself about it. You won’t believe how easy it is and how much of a difference it makes.

As of today, I got 3 stories in my bank to tell to the children I will meet all around the world! Any other suggestions to offer? What are the best stories you ever read to your children? Or the best stories you remember from your childhood? Share them with us!

By the way… we’re still accepting candidates to read stories in all continents of the world!

Are you afraid to jump in the unknown? Read the kindergarten story Scaredy Squirrel!

Cover of "Scaredy Squirrel"

Cover of Scaredy Squirrel

I already told you the story of the Icky Little Duckling a few posts ago. Now I want to share with you another cute kindergarten story. It is called Scaredy Squirrel, written by Melanie Watt.

“The Scaredy Squirrel is a squirrel which always stay in its tree. Always, always. It is simply too afraid of the unknown to go down. He is scared of tarantulas, bacteria, sharks, bees, aliens and a few more things. Everyday, it follows the same routine. It wakes up, looks around, eats a nut, looks around, eats a nut, looks around and go to sleep. Same thing every single day. With its emergency kit and evacuation plan, It is all prepared for every single dangerous event that can happen. One day however, it sees a bee! A killer bee! Right away it panics and let fall down its emergency kit. Nothing happens as planned! So he jumps down to try to catch its kit, but… mistake! The parachute is inside the kit! …then, something unexpected happen. (here I won’t tell what exactly to leave some suspense. 😉 ). Since then, the Scaredy Squirrel learned that the “unknown” is not that terrifying after all. He even got to change its routine in order to “jump in the unknown” everyday.”

When I read this story to my little boy, it made me think of myself. What would happen if I would step out of my regular routine, jump into new challenges or activities? Sometimes, we’re afraid of moving only by fear of the unknown. If we stop 2 minutes, look back and try to remember what happened the last few times we jumped or were forced to jump in the unknown, was it for the best or for the worst? Most of the time we would realize it was for the best. The first few moments may have been difficult, the time needed to adapt, but then, in most cases, we wouldn’t want to go back.

Follow your dreams, your instincts, even if that means “jumping in the unknown”… that can only be for the best!

Back to the story… How about you? Have you ever read a story to your child, which in fact made you think of your own behavior? If so, share it with us here.

By the way, check out my new Pinterest board which shows “My Favorite Kindergarten stories”!

Dad, invent me a story!

Invent

Invent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My father used to invent stories for me all the time. I remember sitting on his laps and asking him the kind of story I wanted to hear. To me, these moments are among the best souvenirs of my childhood.

My father was inventing stories about a little boy (that was me!) living some cool adventures in a variety of places I couldn’t even imagine.

I was sitting on his laps, listening attentively to the story, amazed some time, with some fear at other times, but always pleased to share this exceptional moment with my dad. During these moments, as a super hero or as any other character my dad was inventing, I was felling powerful and able to do anything of my life. That was a fabulous feeling for a little boy, a fabulous gift my father was giving me!

Every single children in the world deserve that an adult invent a story in which he or she is the main character. Even if it happens only once in the life of a child, it can end up changing his life, I’m convinced about that. This is what I want to giveaway to more than 1 million children in the world.

This project only needs to start with 7 parents enjoying to invent or tell stories to their 7 children.1 parent and 1 child in each continent of the world. That’s all it takes to start and that’s how we can show the world how we enjoy telling stories to our own children. That’s how the word will spread. The rest will come by itself with only a little bit of help. We can end up making a huge difference for millions of children in the world.

It only has to start somewhere!