Storytelling connects us to one another. It gives us a peek into the future and ties us to our past. We have always told stories. As humans, we have distinctive perspectives which mold our own stories and our existence, and thus make it an interesting art form and every day need in our lives.
Storytellers learned that people love to listen to stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end structure. We also seem to be drawn to stories that have characters and people that look like us or act like us—or at least share characteristics we can relate to. We like action, thrilling climaxes, followed by an ending, or satisfying conclusion. We like to use our imaginations, to wonder, and sometimes not to wonder, and prefer to inactively have a story told to us, that engages all of our senses without us having to try. And we enjoy being moved by a story, emotionally, physically, psychologically.
Just as adults can be engrossed by a story, children are no different. A good storyteller and story are key to sparking interest in a subject or a lesson. It creates empathy. It provokes and inspires. We see ourselves and find friends in the characters. We learn cautionary tales. It’s escapism and at the same time teaches us a history of other cultures.
A society and culture pass on its values through stories, through novels, through textbooks, through the stories we tell not only in our day-to-day lives, but also those we select to read aloud to our children. Our stories are our mirrors, reflecting both what we believe and want to perpetuate. It shows us where we have come from and where we are going. They educate and entertain us. They are what make us human, and connect us, no matter our differences or our languages.
Open up a story. Tell a story. Be a storyteller.