I discovered the power of story when my two daughters were toddlers. I saw how much children love stories and learn from them. My most telling moment came, however, when I was lecturing my daughter about not hitting her sister. She literally covered her ears. But then, in a flash of inspiration, I said, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl who hit her sister. Her mommy said, ‘Don’t hit your sister—that hurts.’” Astonishingly she unplugged her ears and listened! I wasn’t talking about her—I was telling a story.
This story didn’t miraculously change my daughters’ interactions, but it did change me. I soon learned that a willing audience met even my sorriest, told-in-desperation-to manage-a-crisis stories. This, in turn, motivated me to strive for better storylines.
Children are not the only ones who love, retain, and are influenced by stories—we all are. People will zone out on the statistics from a power-point presentation, but muse for days about a human-interest story that captures the essence of the same point. And, in a deeper sense, we’re all influenced by the everyday anecdotes, books, movies, cultural stories, and universal archetypes that soar through our psyches.
Of course, people can use stories to inspire for good or for ill. I dedicate this blog to all those who write or tell stories that, in their own way, make the world a better place.