Maya Angelou has passed.
I’m not able to quote any of her poetry, but I remember the soothing lilt of her voice. I wrote elsewhere in response that our voice needs voices that rise above the noise of a chaotic world. We lost one of those voices. I believe it’s true. There are few distinctive voices that sooth and encourage simultaneously in today’s world. Three voices come to mind for me. James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou. I think the commonality for them is that they use their voices to tell stories.
Our society is losing it’s storytellers. We’ve lost the ability to share our experiences in all but a shrill, piercing voice. We feel like it has to be that way if we want to be heard. I’m sometimes the same way. I tell my stories with passion and excitement and volume because I feel that’s the way to be heard. Sadly, experience has taught me nothing. If I want my children to listen, I don’t need to shout and yell, I need to get on their level and speak softly.
I feel like that’s kind of the way of a storyteller. They get on our level and speak softly. They draw you in, trying to get you to hear. As you get more involved, the intensity grows until it reaches the climax and then gently lets you back down to the end. That’s something we’ve lost in a society saturated with visuals and background soundtracks. In a world of big budget action and overwhelming emotional scenes. We’ve forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting around a great storyteller and allowing them to let us into their world. We’re in danger of losing the imaginative spark of storytelling.
I’ve sat down with each of my children as they’ve learned to read. I’ve watched the wonder in their eyes as they learned first how to listen to a story, asking questions and then began to read them to me. This is why we need to live in a child’s world. We need to regain that ability to listen to the stories of others. After we’ve heard the stories of others, then we can share our own. I hope today, you’ll take the time to enter into the child’s world. Listen to a storyteller, then find your voice and tell yours.
Why the picture? I’d like you to use it as a springboard to a story.