Saturday, January 19, 2013

Godly Play Trainers' Training: Part 2

Telling a story and being trained by another Storyteller

The second part of our course to become Godly Play Trainers involved telling a story to our peers and being trained by another student. I have to say that we were all nervous about telling stories to each other. Of course, we would all have been completely in our comfort zone with children, but the idea of telling a story in front of so many really good, experienced storytellers was both exciting and intimidating! What took the heat off was knowing that the real pressure was on the person who had to take the role of the trainer. 

I was fortunate enough to be assigned "The Holy Baptism". This is a story that I love, have a personal history with, and that I have told three times in the past year. The only thing that made it difficult was that we weren't allowed to light any candles in the building where our course was being held. Candles are central to this story, and at the end you "change" the light by extinguishing them with a candle snuffer. Pretending to do all of this made the story seem less authentic to me. Fortunately, my listeners were not bothered at all by this and were able to be fully in the story anyway. 

I was also fortunate to have Anita from Latvia as my trainer. She was so gracious and helpful. She also asked many questions and helped draw out my discomfort about the fake candles, and then help me receive feedback from the others. I was glad to know that the fakeness that I was feeling apparently did come spill over into my storytelling. I was really honored when one of the women in our group expressed how she had really disliked this story before, but had seen it in a new light as I was telling it.

When Rebecca debriefed Anita, she gave us some practicals about the story. One important thing to know is that the picture showing the set-up in the English version of the book, Godly Play Volume 3, is actually wrong. If you put the candle on the white felt circle to the right (storyteller's perspective), you will burn yourself when you show how the doll is baptized. (The German editors knew about the mistake when they published the materials in German, so the candle is on the circle in front.) 

Most of the time, when you debrief a storyteller, you have them put the materials away in order to keep the group from doing further Wondering when they are supposed to be giving feedback. But in this story, it is helpful to leave the materials out. From the position of the materials on the three felt circles to the way the doll is held, there is a lot to discuss.

Telling a story to my colleagues turned out to be a very positive experience. I, in turn, enjoyed hearing and seeing how they told their stories. Each person had a specific style and something to teach us.


  1. Well done, Sheila!
    So, did you use a 'baby' doll for baptism? I told this story to a group of children at our local Godly Play class a couple of weeks ago. We use a little wooden 'adult' figure, as it is the practice in our church to baptise mainly adults or teens. When 'Jorge' was fully dunked in the bowl of water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, all the children spontaneously burst into applause, which is what often happens when the real thing takes place. Last summer we had about 100 people on the local beach to witness 5 people being baptised. There was laughter and applause then too! :)

    1. Thanks, David! I did use a doll for the Training, since we were supposed to do the "official" version. But when I do it at our church, I use two small dollhouse figures of a girl and boy who are about the same ages as the kids that I work with. . . . That's so cool about the children's response! My son wants to be baptized in a lake this summer, and "practiced" with one the dolls by having it swim in the bowl.: )