Stories. We hear them over and over again. From those silly children’s books to the classic, timeless fairy-tales to the narratives passed down from older generations. Stories can shape our lives and teach us so many different things.
Sitting around the dinning room table on Christmas Day with my family, you can learn a lot. Everyone is talking, sharing stories. They tell about their day, the past week, and their childhood memories. It’s a tradition so great and so fun, that it’s become the main thing I look forward to at holidays with my family. I love to just sit with everyone, and listen to their stories. They stir up old memories that I had long forgotten about and create wonderful, new images in my mind.
One story in particular that has stood out to me over the years was one that my dad and aunt told me about when they were younger. They described to me that they had lived in an apartment building, on the second or third floor. They had a window that looked outside, down onto the balcony of the apartment below them, that happened to belong to their grandmother. One day, they spotted a quarter on the balcony. Wanting it so badly to use to buy a soda or some candy, they came up with a plan to retrieve it. My aunts and uncle ended up lowering my dad out the window, holding onto him not with a rope, but with an extension cord tied around his waist. They couldn’t hold his weight, and ending up dropping him down onto the balcony, which got them into a sticky situation as they tried to figure out how to get him out and back up into their apartment before their parents knew what had happened.
This story is crazy. It’s outrageous and almost unbelievable. I love that. I think it is hilarious, and I love to tell people about it. Narratives like this one can brighten your day and put a smile on your face.
Stories can take on so many different personas. They can be silly and fun, sad and serious, or incredible and miraculous.
Storytelling is, and always has been, a way for people to connect. When my friends and I hang out, we’ll sit for hours and just gossip. We chat about what happened at school the past week, about boys we like, and about silly things that happen when we aren’t with all together.
But, by far, the greatest thing about stories is what we can learn from them. By listening to stories, you can learn helpful lessons and receive amazing advice. Through stories, you learn about people, history, places, things, and yourself. They are our windows into the past and our guidance for the future. Stories shape our lives. I truly believe in the importance of storytelling, because as Robert McAfee Brown put it, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
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