The storytelling days where human beings sit around campfires or the home sharing stories I think has decreased a lot compared to previous generations. When I think of stories, I usually think of children’s stories, like Aesop’s Fables that I read as a child in elementary school. (Haha, totally didn’t expect that ending!) Storytelling has evolved and changed according to technological advancements such as social media, societal norms, and current needs. Storytelling still exists in it’s prior form in many cultures all around the world who still believe in the significance and power of storytelling. Stories are all around us, and we tell stories every single day, knowingly and unknowingly. When we tell others about our day, for example, we are telling a story. So when I first thought of the word “story” I thought of the lighthearted children’s stories I read and was told as a child. With some eye-opening however, I am beginning to understand the scope and potential that can lie within stories.
I realize now that stories can be powerful messengers for change. Stories can be told orally, visually, or through writing in so many ways, including pictures, paintings, photos, text messages, songs, the news, videos, social media posts, plays, etc. Sharing aspects of your life and certain life experiences can be story telling. It can change people’s attitudes, inspire people to take action, result in large-scale societal change in the form of legislative advocacy, raise awareness about issues, and touch people’s lives. They can show different perspectives, endorse a political campaign, and spread your Lava for Life. Stories incorporate the human element into the information being conveyed because there is emotion, humanity, fire, and anticipation in them. The Diary of Anne Frank is in it’s essence, Anne’s story. Look at the awareness of the horrible Holocaust and world change that was achieved as a result of a thirteen-year old simply writing her story in her diary that she got as a birthday present. Did Anne anticipate the profound impact that her story would one day achieve, after her death? Probably not. But look at what actually happened. Her story has become a huge inspiration for so many people, including myself. She embodies and gives hope to others even to this day, more than 60 years after her passing. THAT is the power of a story. It has the ability to outlive it’s teller and inspire generations to continually make the world a better place. It shows us that you should NEVER underestimate the power of a story.
So, as you can see, stories are not all meant to be taken lightly. Different stories have different purposes. Some stories have deep roots and go further, into the very depths of our lives, our person, our communities, our families, and our organizations. So, whether they are children’s stories, news stories, personal stories, survivor stories, biblical stories, religious stories, or simply telling your day’s events to a friend, they can hold unfathomable power and potential. Story telling is a big deal. The 2012 National Storytelling Conference, for example, aims to “promote storytelling everywhere – in entertainment venues, in classrooms, organizations, medical fields, families, and wherever else storytelling can make a contribution to quality of life”.
So, here’s to storytelling. May there be many more moving and powerful stories in the world that brings about positive change. Let’s end with one more story. I promise that this one’s a lighthearted, happy one, once again, showing the immense versatility of stories.