Toy Story, Jonah and the Power of Narrative

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toystoryEvery Tuesday and Thursday morning, Jonah and I make our morning run to pre-school. On the way we often have some really profound conversations about life, God, and toys. He has this new habit of rolling down his window so he can stick his hand out to feel the wind. This morning, I told him the one rule is that he cannot ever drop anything out that window. This morning he asked me why. I told him that if he did it would be gone forever. Again, he asked why. I gave further explanation that included the velocity of our truck, the toy/object in the road and the potential damage it would face due to oncoming traffic. At least that is how I wanted to explain it. I gave a little simpler explanation than that.

What Jonah said next taught me a lesson on the power of narrative. Lately, Jonah has really gotten into the movie Toy Story. He has seen parts 1 & 3. When I told him what would happen to his toy he just couldn’t understand it. The reason I know that is because of what he said next, “If I drop a toy out the window, will another kid get it?” I thought I knew where he was going with this so I asked, “What do you mean Jonah? What would that kids name be?” He said, “A little kid named Bonnie?” Flashback to Toy Story 3 when Woody escapes from Sunnyside Day Care and ends up being found and taken home by a little girl named Bonnie. That was Jonah’s narrative for what happens to toys that get lost. He can’t picture it getting run over by cars. He can only imagine the possibilities through the lens of the stories he knows and the big story on his mind right now is Toy Story.

I want to elaborate on this idea more but first I wanted to introduce this through Jonah’s story. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this and how we form our ideas about how things work, what the world is like, what we do and what we desire.

2 Responses

  1. As you know, the Jewish Passover has a narrative form where a child asks the meaning of the supper. You were wise in first making sure you were answering the expressed question.

    1. Richard,

      Good one. That is a really powerful example of the use of story with our children in teaching them about God. This certainly goes way back, doesn’t it? Unfortunately too many children are being raised, even by Christians, without teaching their children the stories that help frame their lives from a Christian perspective. This would include the story of creation, the flood, the exodus, Jesus, and heaven. Those stories answer so many questions and give them a framework to understand so many other things. Are we teaching our kids that or do we just expect whatever they learn at school to be enough for them to get by in life?

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