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The Power of Story

The Power of Story

In the time before modern technology … we used ancient technology.

Instead of sitting around large HDTVs we used to sit around a fire and  tell stories. The stories may have been told as a song, a poem, a dance or in the fine art of storytelling.

The stories may have been from real-life past and present, or of myths and folktales that some describe as ‘lies that tell the deeper truth’.

Siggy Freud said that when we stand in our own stories and walk in, and own them, we no longer stand on the outside of life looking in and hoping for love and belonging this world cannot give us.

We’ll add that when we do walk our stories and own them, that we are actually able to author the next chapter…. and the one after that… we become aligned with the trajectory of our life.

As the poet David Whyte says, we begin to live on ‘the frontier of our own existence’.

Today we sit around televisions to watch our stories presented to us. Entertaining but dangerous… have you noticed backyards getting smaller and TV’s getting bigger?

The loss of narrative and imagination from our lives reduces us to cogs in a wheel, perhaps thinking we are unique but are fundamentally just being another piece of the wheel.

When we lose touch with our own stories we rely on others stories and others living their lives for us….

‘Reality TV’ seems to have hit a strong resonance within our homes. Now whilst some of us will cringe just at those words, consider that whilst it can be anything but real, it does point us to something important.

Perhaps it is a hunger for life to be more real and for real-life stories to be a part of our lives.

But why?

The best movies all capture a story and take us to places that move us, that trigger our imaginations, that spark our passions our fears… and our hope.

Many families today watch TV and eat meals…. and the real stories of home are replaced by the stories that sell.

How about the old Aussie saying of ‘What’s his story?’ said when someone is exhibiting behaviours we don’t approve of. Think about this for a minute because it might reveal that if we did in fact know that persons story we would understand why they are doing what they are doing. In essence, we would connect with them and our judgements would turn into empathy and understanding.

The power of story!

Children just love stories and so do adults. When an adult can tell a good a story of their life, young people sit up and listen.

As our kids grow into teens and young adults, the stories begin to take on even stronger significance.

For a boy there are some things he needs to hear from his father and from older men. These things cannot be assumed…. he needs to hear them spoken.

What we’re referring to here are not stories of conquest, bravado like the posturing and preening men can do… but honest stories of the challenges and adversity faced. Life is full of challenges and stories of hardship faced will inform the boy way more than any lecture ever will.

Many dads wonder what on earth they can do when faced with their teens rebellious natures and freedom seeking indifference.

Stories cut through like nothing else. Timing and delivery is important yes, but first and foremost knowing and owning your story is critical.

Many of you will have some idea of your story but probably don’t speak it too often. Some of you will think you have it all sorted, that there’s no more work to do there…

WRONG!

Stories unfold with age and time. Conversations had with those who shared the journey can reveal amazing aspects that were long forgotten. Missing pieces to the puzzle when understood can transform a dry story into mythological realms.

Here’s a few tips for ‘unpacking your story;

  • Share your stories
  • Write them down
  • Talk to others
  • Go through old photo albums with family and friends
  • Visit places you’ve lived and places of birth…talk to the people who live there
  • Look at old newspapers from those times
  • Listen to music from those times

A good story rarely finishes like a Disney movie, it leaves the listener wanting more! Beware of one thing when telling stories, NEVER end with a moral or philosophy.

A good story will take people on a journey and they will see things you don’t. Ending with your meaning will only squash what they see… that is theirs to enjoy.

A huge part of the success of our programs is the narrative component that dives deep into the heart of things. Here’s an article that speaks to stories adding resilience in kids… no need for happy-ever-afters, keep their imaginations excited and engaged.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?smid=fb-share&_r=2&

 

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