Last May, I made the decision to stop running storytelling.
It was a difficult choice for me, but I had led it since my oldest started college, and her siblings had no desire to take it on. Their friends had moved on to other activities, and the children coming had gotten younger. I also didn't seem to have any takers from the next generation of storytellers who were attending the workshops I ran. It's easy to do these things when your own kids are a part of them, but when they are no longer interested, it simply adds to your list. When I started working (at a different library) it became even harder. It was time to reach out.
It's always hard to pass the torch. I had run storytelling for 15 years, led it for four. but I was running out of steam. Last May I asked if anyone wanted to lead for the month and no one did. I tried again in June. Two children stepped up. I came to offer moral support. It was a bit chaotic--no one had any stories to share, so it broke down into a conversation--but it was a start.
This month I talked with the group leader about what she would like to tell or read. I ended up pulling an easy reader of short stories from the shelf called "In a Dark, Dark Room." I had no idea whether it would end up being the only story, but I figured it was a start.
The group did not disappoint. My leader could not find the title story, so she ended up reading the first story in the book. She asked if anyone else would like to read the next story, and the book began passing around. It reminded me why I liked having the children lead in the first place. When you give them choices, they step up. This new group was not ready to move away from the page, as my veteran storytellers did. But with the stories in front of them they were willing to speak and share. It reminded me of the very beginning of our storytelling days.
I'll still come to storytelling to offer support and guidance, but it's nice to be in the background again. I love what kids can come up with when you let them be in charge!