The Power or Storytelling
By: Kim Gorsuch, Founder of Weeva.com
Everyone knows that family stories are important, but how often do we capture them?
As a little girl, I loved the stories that my grandfather used to tell. Even though his stories were burdened with the sorrows of WWII and the Great Depression, I would cuddle next to him and listen with my entire being. I learned what it means to be brave and resilient in the face of hardship, and forged deep links between his identity and mine. How I wish I had written his stories down so I could share them just as vividly with my own children.
Family stories are often taken for granted, but they are incredibly powerful forces in our growth and development. Here’s why:
· Storytelling Helps Us Process Our Own Experiences: In our modern, always-on always-connected world, it may feel like there is no time for breathing, much less reflection. Yet when we take a moment to share our stories, we gain insight into our own life experience. Stories are how we make sense of the things we do, and the things that happen to us. Stories are a powerful engine of personal growth, and also a primary way to teach others.
· Stories Deepen Connection: A story opens up a little piece of you to someone else and invites them to share back. We give a little, get a little, and step-by-step our relationships deepen. We feel “seen,” “known” and “validated” as we experience this give and take, and it offers us a chance to practice walking in someone else’s shoes – a major key to building empathy.
· Family Stories Develop Resilience in Children: Dr. Marshall Duke at Emory University has found that children who have a realistic sense of their own family history tend to be more resilient in the face of adversity, which is in itself one of the strongest predictors of future success. Family stories give kids a sense of being part of something much bigger than themselves. If the family narrative includes a balance of stories that show family members handling both good and bad times, children learn that ups and downs are the normal rhythm of life. They see that people just like them have the strength and resourcefulness to overcome hardship and still succeed. Deep down, they internalize resilience.
· Stories Reveal Who We Are: From the youngest to the oldest, people relate to stories, and it is one of the most fundamental ways that we share ourselves with others. Our stories communicate our values and beliefs, and reveal who we are as people, transmitting the essentials of our human experience and the wisdom we have gathered along the way.
· Stories Show how People are Interconnected: Some of the most important stories show the impact that one can have on the life of someone else. For example, my father always talks about my Great-Grandmother and the extreme generosity that she showed to him, as well as to total strangers. When he speaks of her, he has a reverence in his voice that he seldom uses. It’s easy to see that she was special for him, and also that she embodied a quality that he greatly admires. Through her, generosity became a core family value.
As a new school year gets underway, we’d like to challenge you to capture your family’s favorite stories. Written stories have the huge advantage in that they can be preserved and cherished as part of your family’s history.
Weeva makes collection and preservation of family history easy and fun! Weeva provides free online tools that make it easy to capture memories and photos from the people who helped create them in the first place. Once your stories are collected, ask us to turn them into beautiful books and keepsakes that can be passed on to your kids, gifted to grandparents and shared with family. You can get started in just minutes <link to weeva>, and reap the benefits over many lifetimes!
Don’t miss out on preserving your family’s stories this year. Learn more
About the Author:
Kim Gorsuch is the Founder and CEO of Weeva. Weeva was born when her father became suddenly ill, and it became clear that one day she would lose access to his stories. Given this wake-up call, she acted to create an easy way for everyone to collect, share and preserve precious memories of the people, places and events that matter most to them.