One of the first chapters in the unwritten Parent Manual passed on from my parents was the art of story telling. When I was a kid, my dad always told us stories from his childhood and he always made sure to bake in some sort of life lesson. He would turn a really good story about going to the store into a lesson about not stealing or turning an exciting story about his car breaking down into a lesson about being kind to strangers. He did things like that all the time. As I navigated life, those stories definitely helped influence my decisions for the better.
Instead of giving you the ingredients on how to tell an amazing story, I’m going to share the benefits of story telling. First, and maybe the most obvious, stories are entertaining. When I’m telling my kids a story from my childhood, they are locked into what I’m saying, which is wonderful to see. They are digesting my words, but also learning what their grand parents were like when I was a kid, mistakes I made when I was their age, and how much I fought with my brothers (only one of my brothers actually) and my sister. They are learning my history.
The second benefit to story telling is teaching unspoken forms of communication. While my kids are learning about their dad’s life back in the glory days they are reading my facial expressions, hearing my voice inflections, and watching my hand gestures. Those unspoken forms of communication are crucial to learn and are very hard to teach in the traditional sense. I find that people who are able to have full dimension conversions have an easier time communicating their message.
Finally, a good story allows you to teach life lessons that are communicated in such a way that they are meaningfully understood. Over the years I’ve told stories about professional athletes making hard eating decisions to focus on their health, how the monster in the closet is made of candy, and how your body’s workers start making you taller while you sleep.
The power of story telling is incredible. As I share more roles, you will see that story telling is a recurring concept. That is why I feel it is something every parent should have in their parenting arsenal.