Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book Rec - The Healing Heart

This book I just finished is unlike anything else I've read in quite some time.

It's about *storytelling*; about people who go into struggling schools, pediatric cancer wards, and whatnot and narrate original or time-tested stories in an effort to soothe and heal.

I have to admit, the whole concept seemed somewhat ridiculous to my facts-and-non-fiction-all-day-long mind.

But the book is the work of David Albert - a homeschooling guru whose other books really grabbed me.

Here's a sample, an old Indian tale from page 109:

On the outskirts of a village a holy man slept against a gnarled tree. As the sun rose over the forest, a man from the village ran to the sleeping man and shook him awake.

"The gem, the gem, where is the gem? I had a dream in which Lord Shiva told me to find a holy man at the edge of the forest who had a gem that would keep me wealthy for the rest of my days."

The holy man reached into his bag and produced a diamond the size of a coconut. "I suppose you mean this?" he said. "I found it on the path."

The villager took the diamond and ran back to his home. There he paced and paced through the day and all that night. Early the next morning the villager was back at the gnarled tree.

"Please," he asked the holy man, placing the gem at his feet, "share with me the wealth that allows you to give away this gem so easily."

Think about that for a second. Reread it.

It's a pretty provocative little tale, no?

Here's the storytelling propaganda:

First, oral tradition has a millennia-old history. Parents and elders used to hand down their heritage, mythology, and wisdom to subsequent generations, who in turn did likewise. It's only the recent flukes of mass media and divided families that have suspended this universal human practice.

Second, stories have the advantage of being indirect. They can penetrate the most obtuse Morons, you know, those psychopathically allergic to all *facts* and *logic* fired in their direction.

And lastly, Jesus spoke and taught almost entirely in parables. Case closed!

Is this a great book?

No, not by any stretch.

But for me, and where I'm at intellectually at the moment, this book was terrific.

Earlier this year I vowed to branch out and give *writing fiction* a whirl. I figure that I've already got the whole blogging skill mastered, so why not? Though not much in the way of progress can be reported, yet, I do have a large notebook of ideas dedicated to that end. The Healing Heart gave me much needed insight for this new endeavor of mine.

I've also decided to make narration and storytelling large components of my homeschooling *curriculum*. I am reading to my kids every day now - before just Mrs. C-Nut did. I've made a point to start telling them more tales of my youth, of their grandparents, etc. There are a multitude of reasons why I'm doing this....but y'all will have to wait until I gain some clarity on the subject before I elaborate.

Other David Albert posts:

Decent Homeschooling Resource - David H. Albert

Yet Another Homeschooling Book

1 comment:

Taylor Conant said...


The liberty movement needs some good parables. Maybe you can write some or else recommend a few good tomes worth of stuff on personal responsibility, individual ingenuity, honesty and thrift, etc.