Thursday, July 22, 2010

Celebrating STORY

I spent yesterday afternoon with the best story teller I have ever mother. From my earliest memories she filled my world with stories. I believed Christopher Robin was my best friend as she transported me to the English countryside through the wondrous words of A.A. Milne.

The most powerful stories she shares, however, are ours. She has spent her life collecting the stories of our family and she can take us back many centuries. We played an important role in the turning point of the Revolutionary War. As Quakers we have family homes that served in the Underground Railroad! Yesterday she shared with me yet another story about my wonderful Grandma Comfort and her traumatic yet beautiful life. Through uncovering this story she contacted people she hadn't talked to in decades to fill in the gaps for us. She says she has a 'new best friend' because of her latest research. (A few years ago she even self-published one of my grandma's stories-losing her parents in the flu epidemic.)

I was struck by how much these stories mean to me. My life in the context of thousands of narratives all around me. Thanks to my mom, who shares them and writes them down with enthusiasm and passion, they help me know who I am in the larger sense. In Daniel Pink's A WHOLE NEW MIND "story" is one of the 6 abilities we need to pay more attention to if we are to move into what he calls the 'Conceptual Age'. I became newly inspired yesterday to help my 4th graders learn their own stories and become story tellers themselves. We connect best to others and the world through STORIES...

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