Stories are great for teaching academic lessons, spiritual lessons, and life lessons. Tell the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to teach about telling the truth and what happens when someone is lying. Relate experiences from your life to teach lessons about living wisely. Refer to Bible stories to strengthen a point. Find stories in books or story collections. Use fables to present lessons.
Stories engage people and capture their attention. Notice how everyone perks up when the minister announces he will be telling a story. Students who are fidgety will settle and relax as they listen to your stories.
I like to tell stories from my experiences and share how God has answered prayer and to show how God is faithful. I enjoy incorporating stories in different subjects – I tell a story about a monkey for our skip counting lessons. I may make up a story about the class and include the students in it. Some stories are for enjoyment, while others teach lessons, or expand on a point.
Here are a few stories as examples.
On the importance of telling the truth
One summer when I was in high school, I was cleaning house for a neighbor. The first time I was there, she asked if I like iced tea. I do not care for iced tea, but I was so hot and had been working hard and was thirsty, so I said, “Yes.” She brought me a big glass of iced tea! I had to drink it because I had said I liked it. After that, nearly every week when I was cleaning for her, she gave me a big glass of iced tea, and I always had to drink it. I never did learn to like iced tea, but I did learn an important lesson: tell the truth!
On working diligently and honestly
When I was little, a tornado blew our barn down. After that, Dad was making yard in that area. There were lots and lots of rocks! Dad would park his trailer there and we would take our little buckets, fill them with rocks, and dump them in the trailer. We would also pick up rocks in the garden. Sometimes we just had to pick up rocks because that was part of our job as a member of the family. Sometimes there were incentives for our work. We were delighted one time when Mom promised us Pop Tarts after we picked up rocks! I especially remember the time when we were going to be paid for each bucket of rocks we filled. My brother picked up many buckets of rocks, because he only emptied about half of the rocks out each time he went to the trailer. So he filled his bucket, went to the trailer, dumped out about half the rocks, went and filled the bucket again, dumped out about half the rocks, and so he got paid for quite a few bucketsful! He eventually felt guilty for cheating and confessed.
On being responsible
When I was young, I was to take table scraps out to the dog. This food was in the big roasting pan. I took the dog her treat, but I didn’t feel like going back in the house then, so I just set the pan on the back porch by the door. I went to play and didn’t think anything more about the pan. After a while, my Dad came out of the house, not knowing there was a roasting pan setting in front of the door. He stepped in the pan, lost his balance and fell down the steps, landing on the grass beside the well. He just laid there, stunned, for a bit. I saw it happen and was very worried. I thought he was dead! He got up after a bit, and hobbled away, but he was okay.
A history lesson
After World War 2 there were many displaced German families. People in the United States could sponsor German families to come to America and provide housing and jobs for them. There was a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania who sponsored a German family to come. They found a place for them to live and a job for the father. Soon after the German family arrived, the Mennonite family invited them to go to church with them during their revival meetings. The German family agreed and attended one evening.
When the visiting minister got up to preach, the German father became very upset. He stood up and began yelling, “SS! SS! SS!” He was quite worked up. They got him settled, and later he talked about this man whom he had seen in Germany. (Explain a bit about the SS – Secret Service.) They found out some information on the minister, who had indeed been a part of the SS, but had become a believer, was forgiven for the horrors of the SS, and now was following God and preaching.
Like I said, this story really did happen in Pennsylvania. It happened in southeastern Pennsylvania, in a church near Lititz, called the Hess Mennonite Church. The former Hess Mennonite Church meetinghouse is now the Lititz Dunkard Brethren Church, which is where I go!
We all have stories to tell and stories make our lessons easy to remember!
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt