What’s Your 20 and Stories

So, I really want to talk to you about Jim Collins’ book “Great by Choice” (I’m particularly fascinated by “the 20 mile march” concept (what’s your 20?), but, I haven’t finished the book. Now I have another book to read (Maxwell’s newest The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential), and no time to read.

Those who know me are shocked by this statement – I’m always reading. . . but, I’ve been derailed by a home improvement project which I cannot wait to be completed!

I thought I’d introduce you to a book I read several years back. I learned about the book from the Festival of Faith and Writing booklist. (Calvin College hosts this festival bi-annually). The book in Question is: Tell Me a Story: The Life Shaping Power of Our Stories by Daniel Taylor.

I’m going to cheat and use the author’s words to pique your interest in his book:

“Stories tell me not only who I am but also who you are, and what we are together. In fact, without you and your story I cannot know myself and my story. no one’s story exists alone. Each is tangled up in countless others. Pull a thread in my story and feel the tremor half a world and two millennia away.”

“It is crucial . . . that we surround children, and ourselves, with healthy stories. These stories should be filled with mentors, models, and heroes who do the kinds of things, physically and spiritually, that we ourselves wish to do. If I cannot imagine myself doing something, I am unlikely even to attempt. Stories multiply our possibilities.”

“Stories can . . . literally give us courage. The child who hears of another child outwitting a giant in a fairy tale is better equipped to conquer the equally fearsome giants in his or her own life. . . this is one of many reasons to reject the flippant response “It’s just a story”

“Storytellers should be aware that they are dealing with dangerous materials. Life and death flow to us through stories. Words have almost unlimited power to destroy and to heal. Nothing is more false than the implication of the phrase ‘words, words, words–nothing but words.’ More lives have been destroyed by words than by bullets, and more lives redeemed and made whole.”

I love how children compel schools to rethink the “story” of education, and I love how the children’s stories give us a picture into who they really are. Some of their stories are heartbreaking, and some heart-lifting. But we can’t get away from the fact that stories are what bring us together (or sometimes, force us apart).

The whole holiday season revolves around the story of a baby who changed the world–that in itself is an indicator of how important stories are. If you don’t have the time to read right now (like me), take a deep breath and take the time to enter another person’s story. Who knows what positive things might happen?