Stories are very powerful

Published 12:29 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stories are powerful. Stories are especially powerful to those growing in our lives. I was reminded of the power of stories as Faya Rose and I traveled to Montgomery to participate in Story Corps. They record a 40-minute exchange between two people talking about something important in their lives. They have recorded more than 30,000 and deposited them at the Smithsonian in Washington, D. C. All that reminded me how I share stories.

Stories are powerful. I shared them with my children as they grew in my life. I did not have to push my stories upon them. They asked for them. They could hear some of them over and over again. The stories were usually about struggle and overcoming.

Once when we were traveling cross-country in a mini van, my stories stimulated my daughter, Malika, to say something that impacted my life, her life, and the lives of my other children. She said: “Daddy, your stories make me wish that we children had to struggle more. It would be better for us. It would make us stronger.” I thought about what she said and made some changes in how I was raising them.

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When school was out for the summer, I insisted that each get some kind of summer job even if it was without pay. I also allowed them to struggle in other ways. In the long run, they were thankful. Every child needs to know how to work. Every child needs to know how to embrace struggle. Stories helped me better understand how to raise my children.

Stories are powerful. I use them in my public speeches. They frame the points I am trying to make. They illustrate the principles I am trying to lift. They pull the audience in so that we join in the moment. They help us remember for stories are remembered long after other aspects of speeches are forgotten.

Stories are powerful. They illustrate life. Life is not about living one principle or one set of complementing principles. Life is about competing principles struggling to have their way in our lives as we live.

Stories are powerful. I use them to illustrate points in my everyday interactions. They help me to capture a bigger picture, to produce a deeper understanding, to lift a truer spirit. People listen to stories with a more attentive ear. They not only listen differently, they hear differently.

Stories are powerful. They convey our culture, extending our roots deeper and deeper so we are more fully nourished. They tell of our struggles. They tell of our overcoming. They tell of our joys and sorrows. They also tell of our failures that become building blocks for future successes.

Stories are powerful. They inform, they educate, they entertain. Most of us love a good story. The biblical story involving King David, Samuel, Bathsheba and Uriah is just one example. God tells Samuel to tell King David that he has committed a grievous wrong. Samuel is afraid to tell the King, so he tells a story. David is outraged by the actions of the person in the story. Samuel tells the King that he is that person.

Stories are powerful because they touch our minds, emotions, spirits and souls regardless of age, background or status in life. Stories are just so powerful.