How interesting that, on New Year’s Day, cornbread is so popular because it is the same color as gold. In 2016, I will nourish my audiences with plenty of golden cornbread in the performing art of storytelling. 2016 is also an Olympic year—the world’s greatest athletes will gather in Rio and will be “going for the gold” because gold medals represent the highest standard of excellence. Most athletes train for years to attain their dreams of earning such a medal. Like the Olympic athletes, I will be going for the gold during each storytelling performance, as I aim to present the highest-level storytelling shows for our world’s true “gold”—our future, our children.
Storytelling, as an art form, can be compared with gold. Just as gold is one of the most precious metals (used to make priceless jewelry and other irreplaceable items), which has been known to exist before recorded history, storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication and entertainment, which also has been available and used by mankind before recorded history. Thus, storytelling and gold have passed the test of time and are as valuable today as they were in the past. How splendid that, in this modern time of digital devices and large-scale entertainment budgets, the performing art of storytelling consistently remains a highly favored method of children’s entertainment. The true “gold” that the skilled storyteller delivers is the valuable message that is gift wrapped as entertainment through live story characters, props, voice alterations, etc. For example, during our recent “Storytellings with Mrs. Claus” shows, the children in the audience bonded with the main characters; this connection allowed the children to share the feelings of the animated story characters (such as sadness when problems occur and overwhelming joy when the characters experience victory, as their problems are solved at the end of the story) and learn the same lessons that the characters learned.
As one holiday season comes to a close and a new year begins, it’s always a good time to reflect on the special moments and events that have taken place over the past few weeks. Often times, the true meaning of the season can get lost in all the commercial hype and focus on buying and receiving gifts. However, I have found storytelling to be a golden vessel to deliver engaging lessons to children of all ages during the holiday seasons. Even though some may view Santa Claus as the ultimate symbol of the commercialism for the holiday season, my “Storytellings with Mrs. Claus” focus on giving rather than receiving during that time of the year. Our plays are well received by attentive audiences who leave the shows with a sense of wanting to serve their communities. What’s amazing is that our audiences consist of children from all types of backgrounds, which helps the children develop a sense of giving at a young age. The lessons learned and the meaningful messages received while experiencing the gift of storytelling can be as priceless as gold. These lifelong lessons stay with the children long after the shows are over. The key is to make the shows entertaining and enjoyable because children (as well as adults) learn best in times of joy. I look forward to sharing our golden standards of excellence shows with our youth this year!