Tell Me A Story

Tell Me a Story was originally written as a last-minute Father’s Day gift. It was never meant to be a work of art, but rather a message from the heart. However, a month later during a family reunion when there were four generations under one roof, I decided to bring it out to solicit everyone’s thoughts on the subject. This revised poem is the end result of our deliberations that weekend. So you see, though one person started the poem, it became a collaborative family effort. It reminded me of a storytelling game I played with my children when they were young—we called it “add-on.” I would start a story and we would each take turns adding on to it. Some stories evolved for days, and they still remember the more elaborate ones. For years the most frequently heard plea in our home was, “Tell me a story.” They particularly liked ones about when I was little and what my brothers used to do to me. They still do. Our family stories are legendary. Storytelling is probably the oldest form of entertainment. Of course, each generation “adds on” their own method of storytelling, but the tradition is timeless and will outlive all of us. Not that this poem doesn’t apply to mothers as well, but it was a Father’s Day gift so I dedicate it to Daddy Bob and fathers everywhere. Share stories with your children while they are still young enough to listen. Trust me, there will come a time when they won’t.



Daddy please, tell me a story.

of when you were young,

of things you have done,

mistakes you’ve made and then set right,

and ones you couldn’t, try as you might.

Right or wrong, I don’t care.

They’re all part of you I want to share.


Daddy please, tell me a story.

Not of brave knights defending their kingdom,

but of choices you’ve made that brought you wisdom.

You softly replied, “Life's not a test.

I only ask that you do your best,

to be the man I know you can be,

to think before you act and choose wisely.”


 Daddy please, tell me a story.

What does it mean to make a wise choice?

How do I recognize my inner voice?

I need the wisdom you hold inside

to teach me well and be my guide.

To know right from wrong and in between,

and how I should act when I’m not being seen.


Daddy please, tell me a story.

I need an example from which I can learn.

Someone to show me which way to turn.

You said, “Being teachable is where you must start.

Just listen and learn with a wide, open heart.

The secret to learning to make the right choice

is to rely on the strength of that still small voice.”

Daddy please, tell me a story.

Whose voice will I hear when I’m looking for guidance?

Is that what you mean when you talk about conscience?

The stories you share make it easy to learn

to recognize its source and help me stand firm.

When the better way is not an easy choice,

I want to hear the whisper of my inner voice.

Daddy please, tell me a story.

Something to last long after you’re gone,

stories for my children I can pass on.

Because even though you won’t always be near,

hearing your words makes me feel like you’re here.

Material things hold no meaning for me;

your stories alone will be your legacy.