It was Russell Kirk who once said, “If you don’t give young people good stories, they will seek out bad ones.” I have told my children many times about my days growing up in Brazil. I told them about the poverty that was so prevalent; the slums that provided an unforgettable scent to our little part of the city. I also told them about the soccer games we had near the slumsa and how the smell never bothered us when we were communing around the sacrament of a soccer ball. My children look at me with wonder in their eyes. They can hardly believe that their father had such a history. It’s my story and I tell them as often as possible.
My hope is that as they grow I may be able to tell them grown-up stories about my older years as a teenager and the lessons I learned. I want to put it all in the context of daddy’s commitment to Jesus and how Jesus delivered their father from a multitude of sins. These are good stories. I want them to see redemption in each one of them. I want them to have good stories in a world shaped and orchestrated by God. I want them to hear of good stories where faithful saints undergo pain and persecution, but yet find hope in God through it all.
I pray that my children will not seek out bad stories due to the lack of good ones.
Phillip Pullman stated that “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” I want my children to see stories in relationship and never isolated from our provision. I want them to hear them and through them see that we are providing them a form of food that will sustain them in their own stories.
There are many stories in this world. Some of them are true, good, and beautiful. Some of them are false and are meant to take away your appetite from the true story-teller of this world; the Creator of all stories. When my children come across these types of stories may they see it for what they are: pseudo versions of God’s narrative; anti-story.
- known as favelas (back)