After childhood, what value lies in storytelling?
As adults, the willingness and ability to talk about one’s observations and experiences not only provides a way of keeping verbal skills sharp, but perhaps as importantly, becomes of means of emotional health.
As we grown older, many people hide their feelings and experiences out of embarrassment or concern about boring others. The example of the person who “tells the same stories over and over again” inhibits many people from telling stories about themselves. For those people, discussing current affairs or business interests becomes the pivot for conversation. But they deprive themselves of the opportunity of expressing their own feelings and ideas — and important outlet for personal expression.
In some families, traditions exist that everyone, children and adults, tell a story at the dinner table or family gatherings. Many skilled writers credit their success to the expectation that each person tell a story to the family at night. Within families, the opportunity to tell one’s story can be a first step toward building self confidence and learning to bond with others.
As we become older, we often relate to others by the stories we tell — if we use the opportunity — and solidify our connections to other people.
As people age, the wisdom and experience they relate to their children, grandchildren, and those around them often comes through stories. Personal history doesn’t have to be recorded formally in writing: we all have the opportunity to tell our stories and enrich the lives of others, as well as ourselves.
Tell a story and give yourself, and others, the joy that comes from using the unique talent we have as humans: connecting through ideas and words.
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