Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fostering a Culture of Story Telling

[I want to start this post by saying that I'm a struggling listener. I'm always trying to do better, but I easily fall into impatience and distraction. I've even struggled with books on tape... because you have to KEEP paying attention!]

As I've gotten older, I've begun wondering why stories are worth telling... why are they worth remembering and who (actually!) wants to hear them? (Spoiler alert: I don't know. I don't have the answers...)
My husband is a great story teller! And, he comes from a long line of great story tellers that have way more than their fair share of fantastic stories... And they get told and retold, making them a vital part of their family culture. It's very fun! (No really, you should see the stories that roll out at midnight... I just have to try to stay up that late!!)

Despite being a struggling listener, I'm grateful for the stories I've heard over the past years from my regular chats with my Grandma Ginger. She told me about practicing blackouts as a child.  She and her sister, Dollie, served coffee and donuts to the soldiers (even though they weren't allowed to date them). Unbelievably, mansion owners on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in New York City gave up their homes to house soldiers. Ginger and Dollie took a course together to identify German airplanes. (Upon the completion of that course they received wings on their uniforms.) Yes, these stories matter because I love my Grandma, but also because without them, a vignette of the past is lost. It's a time that is gone, but not completely, especially if we keep telling our stories.
But it's not only my stories. I love to read blogs. Stories of (let's be honest) strangers capture me and I have lots of fun reading them. (Like Design Mom's "Living with Kids Home Tours" which tell the stories of families and how their homes work for them.) Part of the art is in the story telling, but part of it is simply caring about people. The connection that's made means something. It matters to me that somewhere in the world, someone can relate to something I'm going through, even if they're a stranger!

In any case, I'm working on listening because I do love stories. And I do love people. And I want to get really good at sharing stories. George's Birth Story is one of my most popular posts. And I love that story! And as I learned at the Blogging Conference I went to, we all have our own story to tell... and I hope that we all keep getting better and better at swapping our stories! 

...and yes, I will listen!

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