My husband is a great teller of stories. If you don’t believe me, ask our grandchildren. He has several stories he has told to each of them over time that were truly of his imagination and he told them so well that when they were very young, they thought they had actually occurred. I chuckle as I recall how engaged they were with the story as they listened and asked questions.
The favorite of them all was about a winter when he spent time on his own with the Eskimos. Oh, the adventures he had! He seemed to never tire of creating new little details in response to their questions. Another of the stories that was a favorite of our oldest granddaughter was more of a dramatic play called “Save Princess”. In the story he played both the role of the villain and the role of the hero who came to save her just in the nick of time.
A good storyteller knows that a story is not just reporting a sequence of events, but rather the telling of meaningful and often extraordinary actions of the characters in the story that take place over a period of time. Some people say it requires a certain craft or skill. That is likely true, but I think it is most of all a gift.
I think my husband has that gift even though he would insist he is not good with words. I think it is a gift because he sees into the character of the people in the stories. The actions in the story flow through them. He managed to get our grandchildren caught up in the story of his life with the Eskimos one winter through the development of his character, what he did, how he felt, and how he responded to the challenges and adversities of the long, bitter, cold winter.
Stories help us to make sense out of our present experiences as well as those of the past while giving us glimpses of possibilities for ourselves for the future. My husband’s experiences as a Boy Scout and his boyhood exploits served as grist for the stories he told as well as how to become an effective problem-solver throughout his lifetime. I doubt our grandchildren will forget these stories because of the memories they created of not only the story, but also the man who told it.
The stories we choose to listen to are significant. Each character we meet, each adventure we explore, provides a certain challenge to us and may well change us in some ways we may never even see or recognize.
Wayne Booth has put it this way:
“The stories we choose to spend our lives with are a reflection of our values and, therefore, our character.”
I think that points to why it is so important that we not allow ourselves to get caught up in small stories. Small stories never seem to reflect good characters or characters of good quality, but rather take us down a yellow brick road away from truth, virtue, and light for the path ahead. Our minds and hearts get caught up in shadow and deception instead of light.
I love what Daniel Taylor says in Tell Me A Story:
“We will be defined, as individuals and as a society, by the stories we choose to live and by those we value enough to pass on to the next generation. This is perhaps our ultimate responsibility as characters acting freely. What stories will we tell our children and why? What stories will they choose to tell in turn?”
Of all the great and gifted storytellers, likely the stories that have stood the longest test of time have been those that Jesus told and left for us during His life on earth. Generation after generation they have been passed on. The characters in the story never fail to point to or show us something about themselves that allow us to learn something about ourselves as well. They challenge us to be better than we would be without them. They inspire us and show us the way to go.
Jesus undoubtedly knew the power of stories. He used them often when He was teaching or just hanging out with His friends/disciples. He knew they would be remembered and that remembrance would show us Him long after He returned to His Father.
He wanted us to remember. He knew our stories were and would be broken stories that would potentially discourage and defeat us. He came to heal the brokenness of our stories and did so through giving us another story, His story.
As I heard a pastor say:
“The world says we are defined by our past, but God’s focus is on the future and who we will be.”
That gives us hope and His stories are the ones we should remember and live out.
24 thoughts on “Tell Me Again: The Gift of Storytelling”
Eskimos! WoW! How exciting. 🙂 I love how you see the spiritual in life’s events. I was going to say “every day events” but Eskimos is certainly not “everyday.” LOL
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Storytelling is definitely a wonderful way to teach – and listening to stories is such a wonderful way to learn. I always loved “Bible Stories” when I was little – it was much later that I realised they were actually “Bible lessons”. I really enjoyed this post, Pam. Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.
Thank you so much, April! I always enjoy visiting your site and linking up there! Have a blessed day!🌹
Oh, how I love this! Storytelling is most definitely a gift! And a powerful one, at that! (We learn so much by listening to stories! Jesus knew this, which is why He so often taught through them!)
Thank you! Yes, we do indeed learn from stories and He knew and knows us best!
I’d love to hear your husband’s stories. Made me smile to picture him telling them. Thanks, Pam.
Thank you for sharing the sweet legacy your husband is undoubtedly leaving for your grandchildren.
Thanks so much for sharing your insights about story telling. I never thought about it in those terms. Very well said.
My friend’s daughter is a missionary in the middle east and the “technique” they use for witnessing to the people who live there is one that utilizes story telling. She has had to learn their language in order to effectively tell stories that share the Gospel. It was really fascinating to hear about this form of witnessing to those who live in hostile areas toward Christians.
Thanks, Karen, and thanks for this special example about your friend’s missionary daughter’s experience and ministry! Have a blessed day!⚓️
I love a good story – but, like your granddaughter, I like my stories to have a happy ending!! Our stories with Christ have tension, struggle, “bad guys” and the rest but, what a joy, there is happy ending:)
Seems like we are on the same page! Thanks so much for stopping by today and taking a moment to comment. Have a blessed day!!
And you, my friend, are a storyteller with a hefty pen and an overflowing heart. I’m grateful for the wisdom and grace you pour into my life …
I’ve learned much of great value from you. Blessed indeed.
Awww, thank you, Linda❤️ You are ever an encourager to me. ⚓️
I love a good storyteller! My m-i-l can tell a story out of any experience, whereas I definitely do NOT have that gift. I tend to want to just give the bottom line first; it doesn’t make for an exciting story that way. ha.
Tomorrow is the due date for our next grandbaby! My bags are packed (for the most part) and I’m ready to start a new chapter with this little granddaughter soon.
That boy on the picture is so cute. Jesus was the best storyteller of all time. His words create a picture in our imagination to bring the story to life so we can easily understand the word of God. Great pos!
I love this, Pam, and the truth is that the idea of storytelling has gotten me through some of the toughest seasons of my life, for I asked myself, ‘What story do I want to be able to tell when this is over? How can God be glorified in this season, and what aspect of his faithfulness is going to save the plot here?”
That image you shared… so cute! But then I have a soft spot for big brown eyed boys.
Thanks so much, Michele! I can identify with that.
I loved the image of the little boy as well! He has so much joy and mischief tucked in those beautiful brown eyes and adorable smile. Reminds me of my one boy and 3 grandsons!