My mum, the Olympics and my motivation to start Story Seekers

Wow, the title of this post sounds a little like the game that Granny used to play (which I’ve mentioned before on here) where the eager listeners throw out three random ideas and the storyteller weaves them into an imaginative narrative.  Bear with me, though, as hopefully it’ll make sense eventually!

I, like pretty much everyone else it seems, LOVED the watching the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London last night.  The sniffles of emotion began as I heard snippets of the radio shipping forecast, which is hugely nostalgic for me as my parents listened to Radio 4 virtually non-stop whilst I was growing up, so by the time the theme tune from ‘The Archers‘ was played I was a blubbering wreck.

The brilliant section in which Daniel Craig collected the Queen from Buckingham Palace was heralded by the playing of the ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba‘ – the music that played as I walked into the church for my wedding – so more sobbing / grinning / frenzied searching for a calming piece of chocolate ensued (it was my wedding anniversary on Thursday, so I’m giving myself a little leeway here!).

Obviously, I was EXTREMELY happy about the inclusion of the children’s literature section as being something that made Great Britain ‘great’.  The whole ceremony very much highlighted the belief that we must support and invest in children in order to continue being ‘great’ for generations to come, and this was crystallised perfectly by the young people chosen to carry the torches that lit the cauldrons (yep, I bawled again at that point too).  One of the many messages that I therefore took away from last night was that reading and storytelling (and no-one could question the fact that Danny Boyle told a great story) are vitally important for children and will provide them with the tools to build the foundations for their own bright, shining adult lives.  (Did you see what I did there – Industrial Revolution imagery and everything.  Wonder if they’ve got anyone to produce the Closing Ceremony yet – I *think* I’m free on that day……… 😉 )

Anyway, for all these reasons and more, watching the festivities last night moved me to consider a little more just why it is that children’s literature is SO important to me.  Yes, there are the beautiful pictures and wonderful stories and yes, there are all the benefits that reading (and indeed being read to) provides, but there’s something else as well.  It’s not rocket science, but it reminds me of my own childhood.  I am incredibly fortunate to have had a very happy upbringing with two loving parents and a gorgeous, slightly bonkers, fun-loving extended family to whom I am still very close. I was always celebrated for being a bookworm (both at home and at school) and loved creating stories and games and just ‘making things’.  I would like to do the same for my own children and also, via Story Seekers, for lots of other children as well.

Very sadly, my mum died five years ago (perhaps I shouldn’t have typed that sentence while in such a fragile, post-Opening Ceremony state.  Give me a mo, I just need to fetch some more tissues!) and as well as missing her every day, I feel incredibly sad that she’s not here to see C and H growing up and to realise that the reason they are such loving little chaps with a fantastic zest for life is because of the great role model that she was (as are my dad and my in-laws as well, of course).

So while I know that my reasons for wanting to get Story Seekers going are valid and are based on all the ideals I’ve mentioned in other posts, I know that there is a little part of it that’s based on me wanting to keep my own childhood with my mum alive, because she isn’t any more.  It’s a little odd and somewhat unexpected that it was the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony that clarified all this for me, but such is life.  I’m just off to watch the whole thing again, but this time I’m ready with wine, cake and extra large hankies 🙂


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