Storytelling for Smart Parenting

World Book Day & Copyright Day, 23 April, 2016 

On 9 October 2009, Barack Obama, newly inaugurated, walked out to the media pack in front of the lawn in the White House. He had just been named Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the world was waiting for his first comment.

Imagine my surprise when Obama opened his address by talking about…his dog.

This is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said ‘Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize… and it is Bo’s birthday (dog).

And then Sasha added, ‘Plus we have a three day weekend coming up.”

At this point, I was convinced that Barack Obama had lost his marbles. There he was, commenting on possibly the most prestigious win in the world, and he was talking about his dog’s birthday?

And then, he said: “So it’s good to have kids to keep things in perspective.”

Ah. His story did have a point after all.

And that point was swiftly reported in headlines around the world – ‘I am surprised and humbled’. Obama wanted to assure critics that he knew he still had much to prove.

So what do the worlds of politics and parenting have in common?


The 44th President of the United States is an expert in using stories to invoke shared experiences with many of his constituents.  As President of the United Household, you too, can use stories to nurture, manage and inspire your children.

Here are some benefits of stories for me:

  • Pass on your values
  • Simplify complicated concepts, ideas
  • Learn language
  • Manage and inspire
  • Share intimacy
  • Nurture creativity and imagination

Reading with or to our children is an obvious way of sharing stories. I also use movies, audio books and podcasts to encourage my kids to love stories.

James and I tell our kids stories about our childhood, our courtship, our wedding – everything! That way, the kids can imagine our lives before they were born.

So to me, smart parenting is very much smart storytelling.

Happy World Book Day 2016!


  1. I had just recently found out about your blog after saw you hosting the program “童工” in Channel U. My wife and I are very impressed with your beautiful and fluent Chinese and of course deeply moved by the show itself.

    Keep it u with the good work.

    Cheers from Malaysia.

  2. I have stumbled upon your blog today through many places. First was Jamie YEO’s Instagram, where I saw your photos together, where I briefly saw the tag “Crazy About Chinese”. Then I saw your Instagram, which led me to FB and then finally here.

    This first article impressed me. Simply because I can relate to what you’re saying about telling stories. I do a lot if that with my kids too.

    I look forward to reading and learning from you here. I hope I can pick up some tips on how to guide my children in liking Chinese, when I am also not keen to read Chinese. But for their sake, I will re-learn and try my earnest to LOVE Chinese so that my love for it will run off on them.

    Thank you for sharing your stories


    • Dear Su

      Thank you for taking the time to write!

      Stories are truly precious to me because they can move the heart and the mind.

      Actually I am enthusiastically learning Mandarin too. I figured only then will I speak more to my kids

  3. Hello Diana this is Kynston u teached so many children played chinese games to improve their Chinese.
    How supportive of you.


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