Storytelling in youth work

youth work training and resources

I love the power of storytelling whether it's a life story shared, mystical beasts or a cautionary tale with a resonant moral at the end. One of the joys of a good story is that it poses questions both of the characters in it and the reader or listener. We can look at a fictional situation as a wise outsider, pass judgment on decisions made and consider the potential consequences in a way that you just can’t do in real life. Good stories create empathy and enhance reflection as you ask yourself, 'what you would in the same position?'

Would you talk to the Big Bad Wolf, or would you hitch up your red cloak and run for the hills?

Even if I don’t buy into the notion of happy ever after, I like the opportunity created for a good discussion. I mean, if you want to talk about dysfunctional blended families you don’t really need to look much further than Cinderella!  

Which is why I'm currently writing a series of short stories that use a fairytale format to pose dilemmas about love, trust, respect and consent for young people. Does ‘good’ always triumph over ‘bad’ in my stories? Not really; after all I’m trying to develop problem solving skills for the real world, but they do offer a different way to explore choices.  

Wish upon enough stars and your dreams may come true. Wish, plan and work towards them in achievable steps and you have far more chance of getting there.