What did you want to be when you grew up?
From at least the age of ten on, I wanted to be a journalist. I’m not entirely sure where that desire came from. I know I read about Nellie Bly early on and found her story fascinating. I loved the idea of travel and seeing my name in print. I was a voracious reader. I would get lost in a book for hours at a time.
I loved stories and from early on I was intrigued with them and their storytellers. To this day, I wonder how people come up with stories like The Hunger Games, Little Women and Narnia? Where do these stories come from? What kind of a mind comes up with these ideas?
Deep down, I wanted to be a journalist to tell stories. Other peoples stories. For me, I thought journalism was the route to do that. Things don’t always turn out like we thought. But the desire to tell stories never left.
As an adult, not only do I still want to tell stories but I see the impact a good story can make on an individual. Think about it. If you go to a workshop or seminar or connect with a good friend. What do you remember most about that time spent? Usually it’s a story someone told. And if there’s a lesson attached even better because you probably remember it as well.
Families and friendships are often bonded over stories. There was a popular TV show a while back that was about some friends. The one would try and get his friend to do all this wild stuff and he would convince his friend to do it by telling him it would be “Legendary.” It’s those legendary stories that we tell over and over. That become a part of our history. Listening to those stories, makes the younger generation want to have their own stories as well. It’s motivating. Hopefully in a positive direction.
There is great power in storytelling. A powerful message told through story can make people change. The world change. We see it happen every day. Someone sees a news story and things change. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. How does God communicate with us? Mainly it’s through His Word, which is made up of people’s stories. Jesus told parables. I know you know this. I had forgotten it.
Storytelling can be scary and exhilarating. It’s hard. Sometimes you just have to get the story out. It will literally pour out of you. Other times we are afraid of how the story will be received. Will it be stomped on or embraced? Maybe no one will care. Maybe no one will but the story must still be told because someday with someone, it will make an impact.
We all have a story to tell. I believe we all have many stories to tell. Can you tell your story if someone asked? We tend to think that means talking to a lot of people. For some of us, that might be true. But for most of us, telling our story means talking to our kids, our friends and those in our spheres of influence. It’s being able to answer why we do what we do or why we believe what we believe. What makes us tick. It’s important to be able to tell your story no matter who you are. Telling our stories is the foundation of community building.
We build relationship through story. In letting people into our stories and listening to theirs, communities are created. Knowing someone’s story is getting to KNOW them. It can be deeply personal or maybe you like their humour, their cleverness. It makes you want to know more.
Telling your story is opening your heart. If it’s done authentically, it invites others to see the good, the bad and the ugly so they can be free to do the same. It makes us equals and can transform us all.