San Diego-based psychologist Michael Yapko, in writing about effective methods of communication with hypnosis, claims that Stories as teaching tools have been the principal means of educating and socializing people throughout human history (Yapko, 2003, p. 433 italics added). Over time and across all cultures they have been used as a form of effective communication and education, passing on from generation to generation the attitudes, values, and behaviors necessary for survival and success in life. Stories like the biblical account of creation, the Australian Aboriginal dreamtime legends, or the myths of ancient Greece explain how our world came into being, how human beings were created, and where animals came from. We, as a species, have used stories to explain our world and its origins. These stories help us to define and understand much of what otherwise might be unexplained. In so doing, they also enable us to create our world. If our stories of the world are based on creationist...
Although the percentage of the nonreli- Believe in the Devil 70 gious continues to rise, it is also clear that re- Believe in hell 69 Prothero notes that many theological doctrines that Europeans now dismiss as fables heaven and hell, and the devil are enthusiastically affirmed by the vast majority of Americans. Out of every ten adults in the United States, more than nine believe in God, more than eight say that religion is important to them personally, and more than seven report praying daily. 7
Take this list of words and talk about their meaning to you and your partner. See if you and your partner can agree on (1) which words both of you could use with your children, (2) which are too loaded to use, and (3) which you could create your own family meaning for. Sample words altar, amen, awe, baptize, bible, blessing, benediction, born again, Christ, communion, church, confession, covenant, crucifixion, devil, divine, enlightenment, evil faith, God, gospel, grace, heaven, hell, holy, Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost, Jehovah, Jesus, Lord, miracle, mystery, original sin, pray, prayer, predestination, priest, prophecy, prophet, redemption, resurrection, revelation, sacrament, sacred, salvation, saved, savior, sin, son of God, spirit, spiritual, spirituality, temple, testament.
Stories have long been used not only to shape behaviors but also to present listeners with the disciplinary consequences of compliance and noncompliance. Live a good life, say the traditional stories of Christianity, and you will be rewarded with a heavenly eternity but fail to follow the teachings of the faith and you will be punished with damnation in hell. Be good, we teach children in tales of Christmas, and Santa Claus will bring you presents but misbehave and you face the prospect of a season devoid of presents. Do not steal or be selfish, says the Aboriginal tale of Wakala, or you could be turned into a crow. Help out a friend in need, or miss out on the rewards, says the story of the Little Red Hen. Many such tales teach not just the socially or personally appropriate behaviors in which to engage but also the consequences of failing to do so.
So often we hear that our children are 'fine' at school or elsewhere, only to find that the second they walk through the door, all hell breaks loose. I am told that I should be pleased that my boys are secure enough in my love to know that they can be themselves. It seems I should be delighted that they can vent their anger and frustration at me as it shows that only at home are they truly accepted. Excuse me whilst I dance with joy
Ben, like many autistic people, has difficulties understanding his environment and seems to be unaware of the fact that when he is away at school, life carries on at home. To Ben, life literally freeze-frames in his mind and unfortunately for the rest of us, that means that nothing whatsoever can have changed when he comes home or it causes him immense distress. Just before Ben goes out of the front door to be placed on the bus, it is almost as if he takes a mental snapshot of each room and woe betide us all if anything has changed at all The PlayStation has to be in the exact position, the computer on the exact same website, any bits of paper or clothes strewn around the floor have got to be in exactly the same place (hardly a problem). If after a quick scan around the room his lordship is satisfied, then he continues to perform the next one of his routines. First his clothes are stripped off, and then he places himselfin his special chair and has a bowl ofcereal. If he has come in...
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