“If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books. And words.” MADELEINE L’ENGLE
My forays into storywriting began when I saw my nephews and friend’s kids glued to the TV watching the cartoons being streamed into their homes.
Today we adults seem to be using these cartoons as pacifiers for kids. It is easy to give the kids a tablet device and let them mindlessly watch the cartoons so they don’t bother us.
What I found worrisome in the whole deal was how the language and behavior of the kids started changing. They started aping the apes they saw on the screen. Their words were not original but they picked up pop-out phrases from the cartoons and used them everywhere.
I believe ingesting large amount of screen cartoons and serials is nothing short of gradual brainstorming and I thought we do need to find alternatives for our kids which are not created by big-ticket companies with a vested interest to sell their ideology and merchandise.
The Power of Cultural Stories: How Engaging Tales from Tradition Can Inspire us to Moral Values
I recently came across the story of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani in which he followed his mother’s advice to be truthful even at the cost of his personal well-being. The story has stayed with me and from then on I hav e been trying my best to avoid false words. Every time I speak I try to ensure that I am not lying or fibbing. I try to do things which will not force me to lie.
I am certainly far from perfect. But the story did have a powerful effect on me and I believe it has changed my character for the better.
In today’s world, where streaming services and social media rule the roost, it’s not uncommon for kids to get caught up in the latest trends and lose sight of the incredible value that comes from our cultural heritage and traditions.
But that’s where engaging stories from tradition and culture come in – they’re a powerful tool for both kids and adults to connect with our roots and gain a deeper appreciation for the values, beliefs, and customs that have been passed down through generations.
When we – adults and kids – are exposed to stories from our own culture, we develop a deeper appreciation for the values, beliefs, and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation.
The Best Stories Are Equally Loved by Kids & Adults and Have Universal Appeal
Stories have a magical quality that transcends age, time, and culture. And the best stories are those that have universal appeal, captivating both adults and kids alike.
Think about the stories you loved as a child. Perhaps you remember reading classic tales like “The Little Prince,” “Charlotte’s Web,” or “The Chronicles of Narnia.” These stories have endured the test of time because they contain themes that resonate with people of all ages – themes like friendship, courage, and the power of imagination.
The best stories have universal appeal for all ages, because they tap into timeless themes that are relevant to all of us, regardless of age or background.
Timeless Narratives Inspire Moral Values and Change Lives for Kids and Adults
Stories have an incredible power to inspire moral values and bring about positive change in our lives.
Take the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), for example. This story is a powerful reminder of the importance of truthfulness and patience, even in the face of adversity. Despite being wronged by his own brothers and being thrown into prison, Yusuf remained steadfast in his faith and never wavered from the truth. His unwavering commitment to honesty and integrity ultimately led to his freedom and success.
Similarly, the story of “The Two Brothers” from Muslim folklore is a tale about the importance of forgiveness and compassion. It reminds us that no matter how much we may be wronged by others, we should always strive to find forgiveness in our hearts and show compassion to those who have hurt us.
For kids and adults alike, stories from tradition are a rich source of wisdom. Whether it’s the stories of the Prophets, the teachings of the Quran, the lives of Sufis or the autobiographies of masters such as Ibn Sina or Al Khwarizmi, these stories have the power to touch our hearts in profound ways and inspire us to be our best selves.
I remember that one day I was standing on a road and I saw a man and a woman coming from the opposite side. I felt annoyed that they did not seem to want to squeeze past and I had to make way for them. That memory stayed with me. A few years passed and then I came across a story about humility. When Hazrat Bistami saw a dog coming from the opposite direction, he stepped off from the road to let the dog pass instead of shooing it away. After reading this story I realized how childish I was in not wanting to give way to the couple on the road. How can I expect to be in God’s good graces if I don’t emulate the example of the devout people like Hazrat Bistami whose actions God loved?
I have been especially inspired by the real-life stories of pious people and sought out to re-discover how the Sufis lived and prayed and what they did to come closer to God. In the book, “The Lamps that Illuminated the World: Mystical Journeys of 3 Great Sufi Masters,” we see how the three devout Sufis – Sheikh al-Junaid, Hazrat Bayazid Bistami and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani – journeyed on their spiritual paths. We uncover anecdotes from their life which picturesquely illustrate their teachings. The book describes the Sufi experience of God which reinforces our belief in the afterlife and deepens our faith.
It is not necessary for children’s stories in the Muslim community to solely focus on headscarves and ritual prayers. It is equally important to share engaging and captivating stories that inspire us to embrace qualities such as truthfulness and trust in God.
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” C.S. LEWIS