This post contains affiliate links.
“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“Stories are memory aids, instruction manuals and moral compasses.” ~ Aleks Krotoski, author, broadcaster, journalist and social psychologist
I’m a huge story nerd. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that. And yet, I’m not sure I ever wrote a post about why I became a story nerd and what I’ve learned from analyzing stories.
It all started when I was a child. My parents instituted movie night. Don’t blame my parents for not reading to us. My mom worked and was tired at the end of the day. My dad had dyslexia which made it hard for him to read out loud. But they were big on education and wanted us to learn about how to get along with the people around us, so … family movie night.
We didn’t just watch the movie and say, “Wow! That was a great movie.” Nope, we sat and discussed the movie during commercial breaks and after the movie was over. My dad would ask lots of questions about which characters we liked and why. We’d ask questions about why the characters acted as they did. And in the end we’d talk about what the story meant to us.
Of course as we grew we learned to pay attention to things like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, as well as the lines, to get clues about what the characters were really thinking and feeling. Unless you’ve taken a communication class, you might not realize that listening is a huge part of good communication. And paying attention to non-verbal cues is part of listening.
Have you noticed that sometimes what a person says doesn’t match their body language? When that happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is lying. But it is a clue that maybe there is more to the story than they are telling. Or maybe they think they’re telling the truth, because they haven’t figured out their emotional stuff quite yet. That kind of situation just let’s me know to continue to pay attention, and ask more questions.
I didn’t realize it as I was growing up, but I was learning other vital things that makes interacting with those around me more understandable, and even sometimes more graceful. Once I started studying theatre, though, I began to understand that analyzing every little detail of a character’s experiences, emotions, and actions in a play was allowing me to hone my critical thinking skills and the complexities of human behavior and emotions. Much later I understood that I was deepening my ability to be compassionate, empathetic, and to develop emotional intelligence.
I’m telling you this short version of what I’ve learned from stories because I’m concerned about the trend in education and the media to tout the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines as the end all and be all to save the world. NOPE! The arts teach us how to understand our emotions and each other much better than solving mathematical proofs does. Don’t get me wrong. S.T.E.M. is important, but what good is it to go to the Moon if we can’t get along with each other once we get there?
There have been lots of studies about how taking classes in the arts are highly beneficial. Here are 10 things we can learn from the arts: 1) Creativity, 2) Confidence, 3) Problem Solving, 4) Perseverance, 5) Focus, 6) Non-verbal Communication, 7) Receiving Constructive Feedback, 8) Collaboration, 9) Dedication, 10) Accountability.
I can honestly say that I’ve seen students who were terrified to perform in front of the class at the beginning of a semester, blossom and be able to perform without fear by the end. One student even told me that being in my acting class helped him feel more confident when he had to give presentations for other classes, or at work. I particularly like #8, collaboration. If we all developed that skill, wouldn’t the world be a much happier place in which to live?
I wrote all of that to explain why I created my online class, Saving the World One Story at a Time. Stories are not only a fun way to learn, but they give us a bit of distance from our own problems and maybe even help us see ways to solve them without having to go through long and painful self-examination. The writer and characters do part of the work for us.
From time-to-time, I will probably give suggestions of stories I’ve learned a vital lesson from. I hope you will take the time to share one or two with us as well.
I hope you are enjoying the changing seasons.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2023
Saving the World One Story at a Time
The world is in such chaos right now that sometimes we need to get a perspective on what’s happening. I designed this course on Ûdemy for people who are looking for a way to get a better understanding about what it means to be a human being. Stories are one great way to walk in the shoes of the characters, connect with them emotionally and learn from their mistakes. Then taking what you’ve learned and use it out in the real world. It’s learning in a fun way! If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, I hope to see you in class.
I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.
If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
One thought on “Stories: Not Just for Entertainment”
This is so true!
LikeLiked by 1 person