Updated: Apr 4
Reciting tales has been a part of human history from the beginning of time. It's believed that no culture has existed without its version of the storyteller. Such tale weavers have been called ashiks, bards, minstrels, vyasa, pingshu, dastangoi, kobzars, griots, maggids, and goliards.
The oldest profession on Earth may very well be storytelling.
Why is recounting real or fictitious events central to human existence? It turns out there are some very good reasons. Besides providing entertainment, storytelling,
Promotes a sense of belonging.
Reflects the concerns of the society
Helps life’s experiences make sense
Provides predictability in a random world
Encourages the sharing of ideas in a memorable way
Strengthens connections through communal experience
Promotes empathy and cooperation by seeing the world through other peoples’ eyes
Would you rather listen to a compelling story or endure a stale two-hour lecture?
Stories help us feel human. They break down the isolation around us and make us feel a part of who and what we’re hearing about.
Listen to Jerry Seinfeld explain how he wrote his Pop-Tart joke. Pay close attention to when he says, "Oh, he’s telling us a story!” Seinfeld knows that if he can tell jokes and tell a story at the same time, he’ll thrill his audience even more.
Your reward for watching that video is seeing this one featuring Ricky Gervais:
If you’re savvy, you picked up on what Gervais learned from his English teacher:
“Being honest is what counts. Trying to make the ordinary extraordinary.
It’s so much better than starting with the extraordinary.
Because it doesn’t really connect.”
– Ricky Gervais
Literary fiction is the written version of storytelling. The novel Don Quixote de La Mancha was published in 1605. After over four hundred years it's still one of the most read stories worldwide because a part of everyone relates to Don Quixote. The tale helps connect all of us together.
But none of this is what this post is about. I tricked you into getting interested, and now I’m changing the subject to what really matters.
The future of storytelling
I have a prediction. There’s no need to argue with me over it because in a few years you’ll see that I’m right.
Here’s what’s going to happen:
Families will spend more time
at home with each other.
This won’t be because of choice. It will be out of necessity due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak and the others that follow. I say others because there have always been viral outbreaks, they just haven’t received the public attention Covid-19 has had. I believe that from this time forth, viral outbreaks will receive increased political attention.
Movie theaters are having increasingly difficult times staying in business, even before Covid-19, while on-line video streaming services have been and continue to be on the rise. More and more parents are homeschooling their children or sending them to charter or private schools.
What activity in the home could compensate for an increasing reduction in social interaction that sufficiently appeals to the minds of youth?
The need for storytelling has always been an essential part of human society. This need will increase within the home as more societal threats hamper public relationships. Families might as well take advantage of the together time by telling stories.
“My kids don’t have any interest in telling stories,” you say.
Perhaps not right now. But they will when they have nothing else to do.
The following may very well take place:
Once a week, a different family member stands in front of the assembled family and tells a newly written story for 45 minutes or longer. No acting, no makeup, no props. Just a story.
Within the capabilities of each family member, the storyteller comes up with a sufficiently developed tale that has a beginning, middle, and end, and includes every other aspect of fiction.
Why would families do this? They would because storytelling at home will help families as much as it has helped entire societies since the beginning of time.
Promotes a sense of belonging.
Reflects the concerns of members of the family
Helps experiences within the family make sense
Increases predictability within the home
Encourages the sharing of ideas within the family
Strengthens connections within the family through communal experience
Promotes cooperation and empathy within the family by seeing the world through other family member’s eyes
Most of the world doesn't recognize that what happens to societies is strongly influenced by what happens within their families. Families will require increasing encouragement and help in the future as the world becomes less family-friendly.
You and your family would be wise to consider employing one of the best and oldest tools ever devised that has helped families since the beginning of creation.