It seems like we have a day for everything now. World Book Day, National Popcorn Day (yes, that's a thing), International Talk Like A Pirate Day (my favourite). With everything teachers and parents have to think about these days, you would be forgiven for not being aware that this week is National Storytelling Week.
So what is this National Storytelling Week?
A whole week dedicated to traditional storytelling - that's people telling other people stories. No fancy apps. No split screens or interactive gaming. Just sitting back and listening to a good old fashioned tale, told well (hopefully).
How lovely is that?
But with today's hectic schedules and busy lives, I worry people do not have the time or patience for such things.
If I'm honest, when I was a teacher, I would have dreaded another 'special week' in the diary. I would have seen it as a load more work to do, taking away from the important task of getting kids to where they need to be. Something else getting in the way of covering the curriculum.
Although, of course, I am a storyteller and have been for over ten years. I made sure when I had a class that I told them lots of stories - if I couldn't do it every day, I could certainly make the effort for National Storytelling Week (they loved them by the way and started telling their own).
I'm now a mum.
I look at friends and family with older children and see the pressures of modern life: balancing home-life, work-life, school, clubs, hobbies, family-time, social media and ever increasing homework not to mention the saturation of the toy, app, gaming, media markets that bombard us with more and more must haves.
I wonder how anyone has time to breathe?
So, even though I'm a storyteller, even though I spend half my week researching and re-imagining traditional tales for children, I can understand the temptation to let National Storytelling Week pass by with barely a mention.
But this would be a shame and a missed opportunity, in my opinion. Because - and this is where I hope you'll all agree with me - it is precisely because of all those pressures of modern living that traditional storytelling is needed now more than ever.
Let me tell you a little story, that illustrates what I'm getting at.
Recently, I was in my local supermarket when I passed a group of school kids, first or second year students of the nearby Grammar School. I overheard a snippet of conversation between them. Which went pretty much like this.
"Hey, haven't seen you for ages, what's up?"
"Yeah, good. Busy. You?"
"Yeah, so busy."
"See ya then."
It was 3.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. These kids were no more than 12 years old and already they were too busy to stop and chat. Too busy to share a connection with each other. Too busy to go and play.
When did our kids get too busy to be kids?
I do not know these particular kids. I don't know what they had in their diaries. But I suspect they were no different to all the kids up and down the country under pressure to do well, to get the best grades, to take part in extra curricular, to build their CVs (is that really what kids should be worrying about?!) Of course we want our children to succeed. We want them to achieve everything they can. We want them to live fulfilling lives but most of all don't we want them to be happy?
Where lasting happiness comes from is a subject for a different blog. And I am not going to pretend that listening to a storyteller tell a great story is going to solve all the problems the modern world throws at our children.
But... it's certainly a step in the right direction.
Listening to a story offers a little bit of breathing space in an otherwise hectic world. A chance to connect with some age old wisdom and step away from the screen for a moment. A chance to fire up imaginations, to get their minds working - a welcome relief from the spoon feeding of TVs and screens. (Not that I'm anti TV or screens - everything has a place).
But this National Storytelling Week I urge you, take some time out, go see a storyteller, invite one into your class, or download a traditional tale, listen online. Better still, tell each other stories - but give yourselves a little break from the busy and allow your kids, your selves, your family, your classes the treat of enjoying a good story, well told.
Vicky McFarland is a storyteller and writer based in Northern Ireland. Her Tale Time audio stories are enjoyed by children across the world. You can follow her on facebook and twitter, visit the website or join the mailing list to find out about new story collections.