Stories are the most basic tool for connecting us to one another. Research shows that storytelling not only engages all the senses, it triggers activity on both the left and the right sides of the brain. Because stories elicit whole brain/whole body responses, they are far move likely than other kinds of writing to evoke strong emotions. People attend, remember, and are transformed by stories, which are meaning-filled units of ideas, the verbal equivalent of mother’s milk. – Mary Pipher
The above is from the book Writing to Change the World. At Amazon, here.
I really love the use of written story, but I appreciate the oral story more, because it happens in Restorative Justice talking Circles.
There is something that happens when we listen to a good story. We construct our story along side the one that we hear. We can place ourselves into the other persons story.
Stories are, our gifts we give people. We aren’t very good at listening so we don’t take the time for story.
My Dad is a lecturer. He can explain something with more words than the constitution. He makes rationale points, he doesn’t check in with the ‘victim’ of the lecture. We all respect him and its a running joke in our family. Our joking hasn’t changed him either. I try to get my Dad to tell me stories about things. I ask him where he learned something or how he knows it. Without being rude and challenging him, it’s more because I want the oral history of my family.
At my Dad’s 70th birthday party, my Uncle commented to my Dad. He mentioned a look around the room and realizing “Jesus Christ, we’re the oldest ones here”. We all laughed. But it struck me. My Grandparents used to be here at family gatherings. The house on the farm, my Uncle and Dad grew up in. So they went from kids to being the elders in our family. It seems like it happened overnight.
I made sure we told stories as a family. These stories connect us and when we tell stories in Restorative Justice, we create a kind of family that is the community of shared story.
No two Restorative Justice Circles are ever the same, and it is the stories that make them different.