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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Atheist Life Hacks: How To Turn Your Children Into Authors

Few things are more important to me as a mother than passing down my love for stories and storytelling to my kids. One of the ways I do this is by making up and writing stories together. I thought I’d share a story I did with each of my kids.

Here is one my son made up himself. The entire thing came from his mind, I just wrote it down and cleaned it up:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Jack. She was a farmer’s daughter and often drove a truck to deliver her family’s grapes. One day, when she was in the truck delivering grapes to the local farmer’s market, the truck hit a nubbin in the road, drove into a puddle and got stuck in the mud.
Jack did not know what to do. She had to deliver the grapes, but she could not if her truck was stuck in the mud. So Jack called for help. She called up, she called down, she called all around.
“Help!” she said. But no one answered.
Jack then decided she should walk to a nearby house and ask for help. She spotted one just a little way down the road. She walked there, careful not to step in the mud puddles that dotted the road. When she got there, Jack knocked on the door.
To her surprise, Jack saw that her Mommy answered the door!
“Mom! What are you doing here?” she asked, astonished.
Her Mommy said, “Why… Jack, we live here!”
“What?” Jack asked, clearly confused.
“Yes, honey. Daddy and I just finished buying this new house, which is bigger and closer to the farmer’s markets than our old one!”
Jack looked up at the new, larger house and instantly loved it.
“Oh, mom! What a happy accident! I got stuck in the mud and it brought me home!”
The end.

Another story I wrote was with my stepdaughter. It’s called The Dream Fairy. This is almost entirely her:

Nala the Dream Fairy
Nala The Dream Fairy

Nala The Dream Fairy

Nala went to bed early every night. It wasn’t that she liked to go to bed early all that much. It was because she became oddly itchy if she stayed up too late.
This was one such night. She hadn’t paid attention to the time, and now, Nala was lying in bed itchy. As she tossed and turned, scratching her back, there was a sudden brightness in the room.
“Nala”. She could have sworn she heard her name being called.
“Nala” She did! But where was it coming from?
The brightness faded and a purple glow took its place.
“Hello?”, Nala called? “Is there someone there?”
“Yes, Nala”, the purple glow gave way to the most beautiful woman Nala had ever seen. She had blonde ringlets down to her chin, and bright green eyes. She was wearing a dress that looked like a real cloud dusted with purple glitter.
“Who… are… you?”, Nala asked.
“Nala, I’m your dream fairy.” The beautiful woman replied.
“My dream fairy?” Nala had never heard of one before.
“Don’t be alarmed, my child. Many children grow up to be adults without ever knowing about dream fairies. It’s a sad state of affairs if you ask me.”
“What… is… a… dream… fairy?” Nala was nervous.
“A dream fairy is the one who brings you good dreams, Nala.” There was a sparkle in her eye that made Nala feel very happy.
“But, I don’t have good dreams all the time. Sometimes I have scary ones. Sometimes I don’t have any.” Nala was confused.
“Well, Nala, it doesn’t quite work that way. We can’t bring good dreams every night, because there are just too many children who need them. That’s why we have dream tokens. When you’re scared, or having a bad day, you can use your dream token and your dream fairy will always, without fail, come to collect it and in return give you a great dream.”
“Dream tokens? But I’ve never even seen one! Where do you get them?” Nala was eager to find out.
“You can collect dream tokens for doing good things like cleaning your room, or listening to your parents or helping with the chores. They are the ones who give them to you. But you must ask first. Many children don’t know to ask, so we don’t get to collect a lot of tokens” The green-eyed woman replied with a saddened look.
“Wow. I can’t believe I have never heard of this before. I could have really used some tokens over the past little while. I am never able to sleep well!” Nala said with frustration.
“That’s actually why I am here Nala.”
“It is?” Nala’s scowl quickly faded.
“Yes, Nala. Does your back itch late at night?” The woman inquired.
“Totally! How in the world did you know?” Nala’s mouth dropped open.
“Well, Nala, you might want to sit down for this.”
Nala backed up slowly, mouth still open, and sat down on her messy bed.
“Nala, honey, you are a dream fairy too”
Nala’s mouth slammed shut and she immediately stood up and stared in disbelief at the ringleted woman standing in her room.
“You have got to be kidding me! How? Why? What’s my itchy back got to do with it? How do you know? What do I do now?” Nala’s questions kept pouring out.
“Nala! Nala, Nala… calm down sweet girl. All your questions will be answered in time. Let’s just sit down and I will explain.”
So Nala sat, once again, on the edge of her messy bed.
“Your back is itchy because your wings want to come out, Nala. You see, when it becomes late enough to collect dream tokens, a dream fairy’s wings naturally want to come out. We have known that you are a dream fairy all along, but if you need proof I can show you right now. Just close your eyes and think about having wings” Nala’s Dream Fairy had such a calm way about her.
Nala closed her eyes and pictured wings. A few seconds later, she opened her eyes, unimpressed.
“Nothing happened.” She stated.
“Oh yes, Nala. Something did happen. Look in the mirror.” The woman said with a stunning smile.
Nala got up and walked toward the mirror. As she got closer and her reflection came more into view, she noticed something sparkling behind her. Could that be… is that really… wings?
Nala could not believe what she was seeing. She really was a dream fairy! Oh, how exciting! She couldn’t wait to try out her new wings.
“How do I fly? How do I deliver good dreams?”
“Nala, you must always do everything the same way you just brought out your wings. Picture it in your mind’s eye.” The woman led Nala to her bed. “Now stand on your bed, darling, close your eyes and picture yourself flying.”
Nala did as she was told. She waited and felt no different. But when she opened her eyes she couldn’t believe it! She was flying way up above her bed!
“Wonderful Nala! Now think about a child with a dream token!” Her dream fairy exclaimed.
Nala closed her eyes and thought about a child with a dream token. She saw a little girl with rosy cheeks, lying in bed, looking very sad. Somehow Nala knew that the girl was sad because she had a cold and could not go on her field trip that day. She also knew the child had a dream token under her pillow.
“I saw a girl! She’s sick and so sad! How do I get to her to give her a good dream? Please tell me! I want to help her!” Nala was getting very antsy.
“Just do it the same way, Nala. Close your eyes and picture taking the girls token. Picture her having a good dream.”
Nala went to close her eyes and do so when she was suddenly interrupted.
“Nala! you can’t go looking like that!”
Her dream fairy was right. Nala looked like she had trouble sleeping, with messy hair and crumpled pajamas.
“But I don’t know what to wear! What do you wear for this sort of thing? I don’t have anything like what you’re wearing. and how do I fix my hair in time to give her a good dream?” Once again, Nala could not stop the questions from coming out.
“Close your eyes, Nala. And picture what you think the perfect dream fairy looks like.”
“Right.” Said Nala, “Of course.”
Nala closed her eyes once again and a smile graced her face as she pictured the perfect Dream Fairy outfit. She slowly opened her eyes and by the look in her own dream fairy’s eyes, something had definitely changed. She walked over to her mirror again and saw her own brown hair was now feathered and wispy, her light blue eyes had an extra sparkle and she was wearing the most beautiful white, fluffy cloud-like dress covered in purple sparkles, just like her dream fairy was wearing.
“I can’t believe it! I look… amazing!”, Nala shouted with joy.
“It’s time for me to go now, Nala. It’s time for you to go now, too.” Her dream fairy said with a glint in her eye that told Nala she was talking about the sad girl. “You must promise me though, Nala, that you will teach children about dream tokens and keep your role as dream fairy a secret.”
“Right! I promise! Well. Will I see you again?” Nala asked.
“Just picture me and I’ll be here.”
“Of course! I should have known!”
“Goodbye Nala, and good luck!” and with that, the beautiful dream fairy flew out of Nala’s window and disappeared in a bright flash.
Nala could not believe what just happened but had no time to think about it. She wanted to help the sad little girl who needed a good dream. She closed her eyes and picture collecting the girl’s token, and her having a good dream. Before she knew it, she was standing before the sleeping girl. She reached under the girl’s pillow and sure enough, there was a token. As she pulled it from under the pillow, a purple, glittery haze formed around the girls head and the corners of her little mouth turned up. She was having a good dream!
Nala spent a lot of time that night, delivering good dreams to kids who needed it. And when she finally decided to come home, she lay in her bed and slept better than she ever had before. The entire night, she dreamt good dreams about dream tokens and fairies and flying.

What are some of the things you do to promote a love of stories and storytelling with your children?

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Let me know in the comments!


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