When I was young, there was no television and no internet. We had a small radio, but we didn’t use it that often.
Instead of this, our evening entertainment was through sharing stories.
Just before bed time each night, around 7:30 p.m. my mother would sit in her chair by the fire. My four-year-old sister, my eight-year-old brother and myself would sit on the rug near her feet. I was twelve years old and at that age understood the lesson in the story.
The garden outside our home in Lithgow was filled with flowers. Both Mum and Dad were keen gardeners. Sometimes my younger sister would pull the flowers off the stem. She would give them to Mum as a gift. While this was a kind gesture, it also meant the flowers in the garden didn’t bloom very long.
This evening, my Mum’s story this night was about that.
“All the flowers were sunning themselves in the sun enjoying the gentle breeze, when suddenly a little girl ran toward the flower bed. AS the little girl came closer one of the flowers cried out … “Oh no, here she comes I hope she doesn’t pick me.”
All the flowers tried to hide their heads. The little girl looked at the flowers and pulled the flowers head off. Then ran away holding the flower in her hand.
The flowers were so very sad even the bees couldn’t make them feel better. Even though the little girl picked the flower to give her mother, the flower died as there was no stem to drink any water.”
Then my mother would look at us and say “I hope my little girls would never do that.”
After hearing this story, my four-year-old sister shook her head, looked down and replied with a meek “No”. After that night, my sister never picked the flowers off the stems again.
All three of us had stories told relating to something that we had done, or a lesson we needed to learn. We learned our lessons without our names ever being mentioned.
As I grew older, I asked my mother why she’d told us all those stories. She smiled at me and said, “Children love stories. But they never want to be a villain in a story. They know if they have done the wrong thing in the story. But they always think no one knows it was them. That was why they learn the lesson and don’t behave badly again.”
It took me many years to see how wise this was. I had a clever Mum with a kind and gentle nature. I’ll never forget the stories especially the ones about me.