Growing up, I wished for a better story. One of overcoming obstacles, rebellion, and redemption. Of course, I’d have to actually live all those uncomfortable moments, which is definitely not my follow-the-rules personality. Instead, I shied away from sharing my own story and tended to add just as a qualifier: I’m just a student; Just a teacher; Just a mom… I’ve already shared about the road trip that gave me courage to share my own story with more intention and thought. Being more courageous, even in the vulnerability of blogging, has made me think more about my story and its significance in the lives of others.
Nish Weiseth is a champion of stories and storytelling. She believes that stories can move us from finger pointing to problem solving (p 40). In her first book, Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World, Weiseth gives many examples of how storytelling has changed her opinions about a person, a culture, or a preconceived notion.
Weiseth has strong ideals in the power of story. She has started a popular community of storytellers over at the collaborative blog, Deeper Story. She also links in the storytelling nature of Jesus, citing his interest in the stories of the marginalized (p 58).
Weiseth encourages her readers to be faithful to their stories, no matter how mundane. She says,
“But I’m here to remind you of a fundamental truth: no matter how mundane, you’re already living a great story tha the world around you needs to hear.” (p 184)
She goes on to say that not everyone is called to build orphanages, cure disease, or save the world. But, everyone is called to be faithful to their own story. These are powerful words, and ones I think many of us need to hear. How are we living out our stories right now, in this moment?
My one criticism of Weiseth’s book is that, while she tells small stories of her own experiences, she doesn’t model overarching storytelling. I feel this book would have been much more powerful had she taken the plunge to be a bit more vulnerable with her own story. She gives us hints and tastes, but no resolutions. She also relies heavily on blog posts from a Deeper Story, citing them as example of how to tell good stories. Sometimes they support her chapters, other times they seem to be a stretch.
Overall, I’d recommend this book. I agree that when we are able to sit with others and are given room to tell our own stories and listen to those of others, divisions become smaller and the world becomes a bit more comprehensible.
Have you shared your story recently? If so, how has it empowered you? If not, what is holding you back?
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Speak. To enter, leave a comment about how storytelling has changed your perception – of yourself or others. I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, August 8, 2014. (United States addresses only.)