For the Telling

How amazing is the power of stories.

Today in my training session we touched on the idea about the power of example in imparting positive behavior in the kids that we work with – this is true, and it is almost a silent teacher that speaks louder than words, as so often the tone for the group is set by our own example.

But we also distill the example of an action or an experience – at least a certain perspective of it – in the stories we tell of them.

Often we relay stories almost unconsciously, as a mere discursive act, but today I paid a little more attention. I noticed that in a few moments I related stories of my own and others’ experiences working with their kids. At another instant, I relayed a story from a book that I read yesterday. I later found myself in a conversation about an obscure BBC documentary I watched last week, which my strange coincidence this friend had also recently seen.

Interestingly, I found those stories from my own experience to be most helpful to people to others, and likewise I was eager to hear their own. They stood for the crystallization of hours and weeks and months of effort and striving to do something that we are all striving together, and reflected back to us all in a mere few minutes – not in fragments, but reconstituted artfully into a coherent whole.

In the telling, it struck me that what we immerse ourselves in rises most closely to the surface of what we have to share with the world, and in fact, it often comes out as if by its own will. It is almost as if we are impelled to share it as a means to process our own reflections and observations on our experience, as we integrate it into our evolving conceptual framework.

And herein lie two reflections.

First, we need to be conscious and conscientious with what we surround ourselves with every day, and also recognize how quickly we can learn things. If I fill my days and hours with advertisements and television shows and empty consumption, that is all that I will have in me to share. But if I really want to become a part of something, to know more about it, to master it, by making every effort to surround myself in it, it becomes part of me.

Second, these are stories worth telling, even if only for our own expression. And always in the process we discover much more, as the very structures of thought appear to transmute under the grounding weight of new words. While my reason keeps refuting this simple assertion, I keep finding my way back to stories, and they to me – because every time, something is found.

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