I was fortunate as a child to grow up in a family that valued reading and story telling. We were read stories, heard stories and told stories. Our family adventures turned into stories we told for decades to come. Older family members shared their adventures and stories which is how we learned about our heritage and history. My maternal grandfather was a funny man, who told stories and jokes galore. He was always fun to be around because you knew you were going to laugh and learn something fun.
As I grew up, the stories I was told began to take on a different light. They made more sense to me as I had a better frame of reference for what the person was talking about. As I faced adulthood the topics became clear and I could better relate to the characters in the stories. I suddenly had the same problems, could see their thinking process, and learned or understood how they ended up in the situation that was now a topic of the story. I could ‘see’ the decision that was made and how it cascaded into family lore or valuable lessons learned.
We still tell lots of stories, sometimes the same ones over and over. When we get together we share what has been happening, usually in a story. Or we relate what is happening now to a story from our past. Our current adventures becomes dinner conversations and we laugh at ourselves and each other while digesting. If you are ‘new’ to the group, you are the fresh audience memeber who must endure the ‘telling’. By sharing our stories we are sharing ourselves, our lives, our values, and our history with you. And we gladly listen to your stories as they provide insight for us into who you really are.
Next time you get together with people you love and cherish, stop talking about gossip or politics…tell stories. Listen and laugh and enjoy the time and the tellings…and keep those stories going for generations to come. The people we love and have loved will always be alive in our stories.