My dad introduced me to storytelling. When I was a kid, every night he would tell me an anecdote from his childhood. I was fascinated with the tales of him and his friend Marty, causing some kind of mischief.
I remember saying at one point, “Dad, you have some great stories. I’ll never have stories as good as yours.”
But would laugh and then reply confidently, “Sure you will. You’ll have even better stories that you’ll tell to your son.” He reminded me that everyone has a story to tell; they just don’t always realize it.
I wondered if it could be true, that I would one day have stories better than my dad’s. With his tales of UFO sightings and Walter Payton autographs, it seemed unlikely.
My first big story
It was my freshmen year of college when the theme of storytelling re-emerged in my life. My dad gave me a journal on my 19th birthday, encouraging me to fill it with rich stories. And that I did.
After a girl broke off an engagement to date me and my whole fraternity went up in arms over the issue — all within two weeks before the beginning of summer break — a friend pointed out, “Dude, you gotta write that down. It’s a great story.”
Maybe it wasn’t the most moral or inspirational piece of life experience I could ever share with my offspring, but the guy had a point: It was one heck of a story.
Over the next couple years, I realized something:
Around every corner is a story waiting to be told. And people are longing to hear it. (Click here to tweet that.)
The power of stories
Nothing is so warm and inviting, yet so challenging and poignant, as a powerful story, told well.
Stories are written to be shared, and it is our responsibility to retell those that we witness — not only for our own sake, but for the benefit of others. Stories change people. They shape entire cultures.
After traveling through European hostels, visiting churches in Latin America, and staying in homes throughout North America, I’ve conceded to my dad’s prophetic statement. Maybe I have a story or two to tell my kids.
Maybe we all do.
So what’s your story? Share it in the comments.
For more on this, here are some links to helpful resources on storytelling:
- The Short Story Website
- Digital Storyteller [Mitch Joel]
- On Storytelling: Interview with Donald Miller
*Photo credit: Steph Connors