Storytelling as Understanding

The dictionary defines storytelling as the act of telling or writing stories.

Personally I have come to understand storytelling as

a bold act, a courageous one, in which one shares experiences close to their heart for individual and communal understanding.

The art of storytelling is powerful. It upholds knowledge within a community, while providing space for the storyteller to grow in knowledge of themselves.

This semester I am taking a course within the school of public policy titled Strategic Storytelling. Through various course materials and in class exercises, I have further cultivated my respect for this art and the community it creates.

I have learned how stories build communities, local and global ones that erase boundaries of ignorance and rewrite ones of tolerance.

TOLERANCE: sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”

[Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1999]

I have understood the healing power of stories in that they create a sense of belonging.

I would like to extend this knowledge and ask,

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Although the image that accompanies “storytelling” is an exchange between old and young, it is an art form that takes place between many people, across many mediums.

I have gotten the chance to define and redefine the beauty of story exchange, each and every time I interview someone for my podcast.

For me, storytelling happens here. Sharing my acquired knowledge and prompting others to so as well. I could continue to express the growing gratitude I have for this medium, but instead I would like to pose ideas for personal reflection.

1. How has storytelling impacted your perspective of your position in the world?

I was raised in a region of the world that differed from my origin, and the stories shared by my parents created my own understanding of my roots and potential branches.

2. When have you been misunderstood, a misunderstanding that took the place of story sharing and compassion?

3. How can you take part in storytelling? How can you build a local and global community?

Reflect on an art form that is personal to you, as storytelling does not equate to the presence of words. Photos, pieces of writing, or expressions of gratitude amount to the creation of a space in which understanding is found.

Now that is storytelling.