Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who Can Tell Your Story?

We all like telling and hearing a good story, especially if it involves people we know. I like returning to work on Monday morning and listening to the stories from co-workers on how they spent their weekend. It is in the telling and retelling of stories I find out what is important in a person's life. When I hear for the third time how a co-worker attended his son's baseball game and his son scored the winning run, I understand his son and baseball are important to him. When others hear for the third time how I was cut off by a truck, they know I value staying in one's lane of traffic.

Guys, we do tell our story often, especially if it involves something good. I imagine you would be telling the story of how your son won his game to dozens of people, and for some it would be the second or third time. Naturally, we're not as forthcoming when the story involves some faux pas we committed. However, this reticence is often laid waste as family members possessing unusually long memories take to gleefully sharing our embarrassing gaffes. This is especially true after Thanksgiving dinner, when the whole family begins retelling family tales that have become the stuff of legend.

Our stories add details and color to our characters. The stories we tell entertain (hopefully), educate (possibly) and demonstrate what we value (most definitely). Those hearing our stories get a better grasp of who we are and what we stand for. They take what they hear and compare it to what they see, determining if they match. In a way, our stories represent us, but it's the life we live that defines us.

Can your family members tell your story? Do they know what defines you? Can they share your values with others? Do they need to hear your life's story to know you, or is the life you lead enough to give them the big picture?

Our stories are important. But sometimes it's the life we live that inspires another to seek the deeper things that define who we are.

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