Ground The Story In Reality

In the northern part of Australia there is an Aboriginal value legend that is soundly grounded in the reality of the local environment. The story tells of a young man who attempted to have incest with his sister high on a cliff ledge. In struggling to get free, the girl fell over the cliff—but not before plucking a feather from her brother's headband. The feather landed on the cliff top and was petrified into the rocks. The elders chased after the young man and, as he fled, he ran through a fire that burned his skin, plunged into a waterhole, and turned into a crocodile, his skin hard, wrinkly, and darkened from the burns. Every time one of the tribe walk by the cliff and see the feather-shaped rock at the top, or wander by the waterhole and see the wrinkly-backed crocodile still trying to hide in the waters, there is an instant reminder of the message of the story: Incest is taboo.

If you can build the story in the reality of your child's experience it helps to confirm the message and outcome of the story. If your story incorporates a character children may see on TV, is set in a suburb like their own, relates to a sport that they play, or tells of characters similar to their friends, then every time they engage in or interact with those variables there is a reminder of the story and its outcome.

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