Saturday, November 13, 2010

The power of a story

We all love a good story to take us away from reality into some fantastical world or a reality that can reflect what we know. One of my favourite past times at present is to read children's books. My daughter and I go to the Mill Valley library , take out 2 copies of the same book and then we have a race to the finish. We got through the whole series of 'Harry Potter', the 'Crispin' series and the 'Thief Lord' this way and now we are embarking on the 'Golden Compass' after finishing 'The City of Ember'!!!

I realized today while reading, that their is a common thread to all these modern day children classics. They are all about orphans or about children who have lost their parents ; are adopted by relatives or living with caregivers who are barely around. In this fantasy world, this absence of adult supervision, allows the protagonist to grow up in a blink of an eye and accomplish amazing feats. The heroes and heroines end up solving mysteries, saving cities and conquering the dark dangerous forces of the world. They often become leaders.

So I was just thinking and it is just a question and I do not know the answer - Where does the fantasy end and reality begin for some adopted children when reading these books? Or even watching a Disney movie? Those children who have encountered the true reality of the dark hurtful forces of the world or survived multiple losses, can these stories be healing for them or are they a painful reminder of their past? Or is it both? I do know that some of my clients have benefited greatly from identifying with sports figures and actors who are celebraties, who they know have been adopted or been in the fostercare system. Our stories can be so powerful for us, both in the telling and in the reading.

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