I went on a campout this weekend with my son's cub scout den. We rented a rebuilt log cabin that the U.S. Forest Service rents out and had a blast. I was the den leader last year, and started this tradition. The whole thing was really fun, we swam and hiked and cooked and sang and did skits and just had fun. The thing that really is sticking with me though, is the boys' reaction to storytelling. I'm a storyteller. I love to tell stories...Indian stories, creation myths, star stories, local legends, tall tales...you name it, I like to tell it. Last year I told stories around the campfire to the boys. I got some positive feedback, but that wasn't what was important. You see, I feel very strongly that storytelling has all but disappeared from our culture, and that is a huge loss. I'm trying to reintroduce storytelling, at least in my immediate family and circle of friends. So everytime we camp, or lay outside looking at stars, or travel to a new area I tell stories.
I wasn't prepared for what happened around the campfire Saturday night. I had been asked to tell a couple of stories, so I'd prepared. After we ate dinner and everyone was kind of meandering to the fire, one of the boys asked if it was time for stories. I said it could be if they were ready. This group of 8 nine and ten year olds ran to the fire and sat down, looking at me..waiting. I wanted to shout with joy. But it got better. They began to ask for certain stories that I'd told last year, ones that they particularly liked. And even better, they asked if THEY could try their hand at re-telling the stories. They did. These ten year old boys remembered enough of the tales from last year to perform halting renditions of them. These boys, normal boys who play video games, watch endless tv, and know more about computers than I'll ever know want me to help them each learn a story for the next campout. They want to tell stories. I am so happy.