Stories are essential to humans. We sometimes think of them as frivolous pursuits of entertainment, that they are not on the same level as food, water, or shelter. But they are. Food, water, and shelter can provide survival, but they cannot provide information, understanding, and awareness of the world we live in. They cannot provide comfort, compassion, or beauty. Stories can provide those things.
We learn best when we learn from stories. I know I do, I know my daughter does. Give me a list of facts and names and I’ll easily forget them, but tell me a story, and I’ll remember. And not only will I remember, but my opinion and understanding will change. Stories make us grow.
This is why I believe we should all be reading more, watching films, talking to people, and asking questions, and in this, we should be opening our minds and our ears, listening and looking, recording the lessons we learn about others.
It is easier to judge a person or group of people, distrust them, and dislike them when their lives and tales are vague and unknown to us when they are a statistic, a history lesson, a name taken out of context, a number of Tweets we don’t understand, but when we finally choose to hear or read their story, to get to know them, we can begin to change how we feel. This is not to say that we will love everyone we hear a story about, but we can more easily connect with them. We can more easily choose to be respectful even if we choose not to befriend them or agree with their point of view.