children • education • parents
relationships • marriage • the elderly

Stories Will Save Our Souls

Blog Series

One day I saw my English teacher pick a book from the shelf, look at the cover, whoosh out an exclamation of joy and wonder, and then hug the book to her heart. Later, I snuck back, pulled out the book, and held it with surprise and awe: it was precious, it was loved, and it had received what I never had – a hug from my English teacher.

I’ve learned that books are more than friends. I live at Danthonia, a Bruderhof in New South Wales, Australia, and every day I spend a few hours in our communal library. I perform clerical duties. I repair broken spines and accession new books. I keep the shelves tidy. I chase up overdue returns. I help people find what they are looking for. And, when I think no one is watching, I hug books.

There are few things in this world more sacred and life-preserving than books. In the final pages of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll beautifully predicts why our future is in good hands if we keep reading. He is speaking about Alice, whose nonsensical story the reader has just enjoyed:

…[S]he would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer day.

I believe that stories can indeed save our souls, and will explain why it is important to share them with others, especially children. Countless people have told me that being read to by a parent or friend was one of their happiest childhood memories. Every child deserves happiness, so what are the details of making this work in reality?

In this series of blog posts I will explore how stories open up an imaginative world unparalleled by any digital medium, and have the ability to teach moral values, ward off evil vices; and ultimately carry an element of humanity this real world cannot match. Our future depends on it!

What is the Voices Blog?

Voices is a blog by Bruderhof members, covering topics important to us and to you.

What is the Bruderhof? We're an intentional Christian community with locations worldwide. We try to love our neighbor and share everything, so that peace and justice become a reality.

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