I am a children’s storyteller. I grew up in Ireland where storytelling is a profession. I listened to the real McCoys on a regular basis. I relived those stories in my childhood adventures. My childhood in Ireland was the wealthiest any child could have. I don’t mean material or monetary wealth, as that type lifestyle did not exist in my world. Even though times were extremely tough, I was oblivious to that. That burden lay on my parent’s shoulders, John & Evelyn O’Leary.
It was the simple run of the mill things we all did which I portray in my stories. Picking blackberries in Katie’s field for the sole purpose of blackberry jam, and mushrooms at Magandy’s Pond to get mushroom soup for supper. I picked cockles at Raven’s Point where the forest meets the ocean. Not to mention, living close to the beach and riding ponies bareback over the dunes and into the forestry.
In our strides, we dealt with typical home issues, school issues, friend issues and a variety of other issues that came down the turn pike. Our Irish characters were molded and our resilient uniqueness was created. We believed leprechauns were out to bring us good fortune, the banshee was out to bring us misfortune and Santa Claus was our Godsend at the end of every year.
I combined my Irish childhood with remnants of stories from one of Ireland’s finest storytellers, Jimmy O’Day. I became a volunteer at my local library and told my little short stories to kids, parents, and grandparents. My Irish accent telling Irish folklore tales began to draw passers-by and my audience grew weekly. I realized then that I had something unique to bring to an American audience.
I have found through my travels that kids love a storyteller. I bet when you were a child, having a story told or read to you was an exciting pastime. Well, guess what? Children are the same now as they were in your time. There is nothing like a good captivating story to a child to keep the imaginative juices flowing.
Even Einstein, the godfather of imagination has something to say about fairytales; “If you want your children to be brilliant, read them fairytales. If you want them to be geniuses, read them more fairytales. Isn’t that food for thought? Imagine a fairytale influencing a child to the extent that he or she could end up with a greater imagination than they already have.
Albert Einstein’s great intelligence and originality left us with a bundle of knowledge. His name is synonymous with genius. But he also credited his outstanding accomplishments to a greater thing, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”.
Bottom line, by fueling our children’s imagination’s, we broaden their horizons. Their minds are creative anyway, but imagine how much more creative they can be, if we would only read them fairytales.