Particularities of religion aside, why do humans foster and follow religions? Presumably because we want to believe. Because we want something to put our faith in. Because it is scary to think that there might be no ultimate order to this madness. Because we crave community and solidarity and structure. All possibilities, I imagine.
Now consider this: storytelling as religion. (I'm not saying that religion is storytelling. Not in the mood to be eaten alive. Today at least.) We tell stories because they convey bits and pieces of human truth. Because we crave communion and examples of triumph. Because it is scary to think that we are alone in all of this, in this big, bad world. Because our own words and thoughts and ideas and dreams are not enough. They are incomplete. We need the tales of others, tales of insecurity and imperfection, of struggle and salvation, of vice and victory, to make sense of our own story.
My un-muzzled and unapologetic Cheerio Compatriots Lindsey and Mama have dutifully and daringly continued the conversation, have continued to tell their stories. Not only to make a point. Each, in her own compelling way, suggests that storytelling might be fundamental to conscious parenting. Each points out the unavoidable and plain truth that we will never be perfect parents, but we can indeed be thoughtful and truthful parents by telling our stories to each other, and to the world, and to our little ones. And like their exquisitely flawed moms and dads, these little ones will not sprout into perfect beings, into the whimsical figures of fairy tales. But maybe, just maybe, they will grow up to have keen eyes and wise voices. And many of their own stories to tell.
And in this hypothetical religion of storytelling, there is no gospel. There is no sin. There is no dogma. There is no preaching. There are just words. Honest ones. Humble ones. Imperfectly arranged and lovingly uttered. Like Lindsey's words. And Mama's. And, hopefully, mine too.