Last weekend I had the unusual privilege of helping my friend of 25 years clean out her grandmother’s storage unit. Her grandmother had died over 20 years ago, but the storage unit is on the west coast, and she’s on the east cost. Not always convenient, one can argue, year after year after year…
As I helped to unpack and sort boxes, I came across dozens of pictures, as would be expected. I had never known “Kathy,” but looking at these old black and white photos, you begin to get to know a person.
I felt like the people in the picture should smile and wave, like a moving portrait in Harry Potter. I half expected them to begin recounting their life story to me. I felt oddly intrusive but at the same time like I was being introduced to an old friend.
Stories are the cornerstone of who we are. They are the tried-and-true way of communicating dating back to the beginning of time. The art of story-telling is at its best, the most influential and effective way of communicating with our children, our co-workers, our communities and eventually the world.
The best part about story telling is that everyone has one and everyone can tell one. How many times have we heard our children ask, “Mommy, tell me a story.” Usually, a child’s favorite story isn’t necessarily a fantasy one you conjure up, but they are the stories of you, your childhood, the time you got busted by your parents.
There is enormous power in story. Use it wisely, as we tend to create a bunch of lies in the stories we tell ourselves. Like looking at an old photograph of people I don’t even know, I had the choice to create a powerful story about them. Make a powerful story about you and see what pictures are left behind.