Hol­i­day sto­ries

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - Cri­sev­ertruf­folo@gmail.com http://www.read­in­gruffo­los.com

The for­mer of­fice of the Cebu City Tourism Of­fice has been trans­formed into two spa­ces: a Braille li­brary and a read­ing room/study cen­ter. Th­ese are all lo­cated on the sec­ond floor of the Rizal Memo­rial Li­brary and Mu­seum, just above the main li­brary.

I was there yesterday to give a talk to par­ents about Basadours, a lit­er­acy de­vel­op­ment/vol­un­teer sto­ry­telling group which pro­motes love for read­ing through sto­ry­telling.

The dis­cus­sion started with the story of the Basadours, a group, which I al­ways de­scribe as a tes­ta­ment of com­mu­nity ser­vice and vol­un­teerism. It is in­ter­est­ing to note that we chose Fe­bru­ary 25 of the year 2012 as our of­fi­cial launch­ing date. We aligned it with the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the peace­ful Edsa rev­o­lu­tion. On the same date, six years ago, we waged a dif­fer­ent kind of rev­o­lu­tion; a rev­o­lu­tion that com­mit­ted to con­trib­ute in the fight against il­lit­er­acy.

I read a story to my fel­low par­ents yesterday. The story was en­ti­tled “Si Lu­rat, Kid­hat, Pirok ug Piy­ong” which tells the story of four broth­ers look­ing for the beau­ti­ful star. Each one came pre­pared: Lu­rat with his lamp, Kid­hat with three pieces of pan de sal, Pirok with a rusty sword, and Piy­ong with a di­lap­i­dated bas­ket. I read the story in Visayan. The par­ents and guardians gig­gled as we moved from one page to an­other. Who ever said adults are old to lis­ten to sto­ries?

What I al­ways em­pha­size in ev­ery talk is the need for each child to be read to. Par­ents are the best per­sons to be their chil­dren’s first and pri­mary teach­ers. The teach­ers can pre­pare per­fectly-crafted les­son plans but all will be for naught if the par­ents do not com­mit to cre­ate a nur­tur­ing, fun and con­ducive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for their chil­dren. In my blog, Read­ing Ruf­fo­los, I re­view and rec­om­mend books for younger chil­dren. I do this to share my notes and to en­cour­age par­ents that 10 min­utes is all it takes to read to our chil­dren. I take pride in wear­ing cos­tumes and mak­ing props in sto­ry­telling ses­sions with my chil­dren. They ask more ques­tions, they have wide vo­cab­u­lary, and they have be­come more ex­pres­sive and vo­cal about their feel­ings and emo­tions.

It has been a con­scious de­ci­sion of the Basadours to hold a si­mul­ta­ne­ous shar­ing ses­sion with par­ents and care­givers along­side the chil­dren’s sto­ry­telling ses­sions. Yesterday, we had a crash course on how to be­come bet­ter sto­ry­tellers to chil­dren. The talk in­cluded the ben­e­fits of read­ing, sto­ry­telling tech­niques, and songs and en­er­giz­ers.

An ex­pe­ri­enced sto­ry­teller named Linda Fred­er­icks once said that sto­ry­telling can have the fol­low­ing im­pacts to chil­dren: de­velop the imag­i­na­tion, im­prove writ­ing and read­ing skills, and strengthen crit­i­cal think­ing skills. Th­ese are skills that we need for our peo­ple to make in­formed choices and opin­ions es­pe­cially in the age of fake news and post-truths.

Wewrappedupyes­ter­day’sses­sion­withabriefdis­cus­sion of the Basadours’ Child Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy, which is aligned with the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child. The Basadours is an ad­vo­cate of up­hold­ing th­ese rights. That is why all our of­fi­cers and mem­bers com­mit to our Child Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy. This in­cludes ask­ing the per­mis­sion of par­ents and guardians when we take pic­tures of chil­dren and post them in our of­fi­cial so­cial me­dia pages.

We work hand in hand with the Cebu City Pub­lic Li­brary for the en­deavor to make chil­dren love read­ing. We are at the li­brary at least once a month for sto­ry­telling ses­sions. In some of th­ese ses­sions, I bring my chil­dren so they can in­ter­act with other chil­dren and spend time with their Basadours Ti­tos and Ti­tas.

Last Wed­nes­day, I took all three of them to the Christ­mas tree light­ing cer­e­mony of SM City Cebu, a spec­tac­u­lar re­veal of the wishes of hope, peace, joy and love.

That was the first Christ­mas tree light­ing event that I took my kids to. I used to be afraid that their rest­less, mis­chievous na­ture will dis­rupt the pro­gram or ruin the ex­pe­ri­ence of other peo­ple. But I have had enough of be­ing judged for my par­ent­ing style. Last year, I vowed to be a bet­ter par­ent by let­ting my chil­dren at­tend more events where they can min­gle with chil­dren and adults alike.

I grew up be­ing told that Christ­mas is for chil­dren. With all the col­ors and dec­o­ra­tions made to be glit­tery and artsy, chil­dren are the best judge of a tree’s mag­nif­i­cence.

While I spent the evening ap­peas­ing Jeff Jr. be­cause it took some time for the white cur­tain to be drawn to re­veal the tree and houses, the sac­ri­fice of drag­ging three chil­dren from Liloan to Cebu City paid off as I saw the won­der in their eyes when they saw “magic” hap­pened in front of them.

We clapped, cheered and ate ice cream that night. Then, we went home in­side a car where sto­ries and songs were ex­changed be­tween chil­dren and adults be­fore the three, young mu­tants sailed away to dream­land.

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