Two weeks ago my friend Sara and I got to help about 40 1st-3rd graders find their voice.
To best honest, it was Sara’s project. She got connected with the Bell Foundation and the Boston’s Children’s Museum, and it turned out that these groups wanted to do something to help kids connect with storytelling.
When Sara asked if I would help, I said: It’s all I ever want to do.
The majority of the kiddos (and their camp counselors) didn’t quite know how this was going to go. How we would go about making it fun, and safe, and meaningful to share.
There were language barriers. And trust barriers. And schedule restraints. But, we’re storytellers – so, Sara and I showed up being able to hear past all that.
We showed up and invited them to tell their stories through movement. And pictures. And their words. They told ‘Once Upon a Time‘ stories from their imaginations, and ‘One Time I’ stories from their memories.
We played games. Went on trips. Learned each other names. Found out what made us laugh and think – and by the time it came to perform for an audience, all of those smart, brave, bold storytellers found out that they could make Sara and me cry, too.
Right before we wrapped one of the 3rd grade boys said: “My stories matter. People want to hear – and I can use my voice.”
Another one filled my heart, when afterwards, out on the lawn he came up to me, gave me another hug and said: “Okay, Amanda tell me you’re story. How old are you? Are you married? Do you have kids?”
I answered all of his questions and then with wide eyes he goes: “I can’t believe someone gets to be your son.”
I told him: “I can believe how awesome it is to be your Mom.”
There were more hugs and more stories and I did my best not to let out more tears.
There is little (if anything) more powerful than our voice. Finding it. Using it. Loving it.
Our voice is what connects – and carries – and conquers.