Humans are Wired to Learn Through Stories

Dear Reader:

I had my latest epiphany  yesterday while watching a cooking show on ETV. I honestly can’t remember the name of this particular cook…a man from Greece I believe…but the title of his show contained his name and then a colon followed by : “Storyteller in the Kitchen.”

I mused about it a few moments and then thought that it was the perfect title. All throughout the show… story after story was shared about a particular dish, its history, or legend, or memory from his childhood. His stories turned a ho-hum cooking show into a highly entertaining spectacle!

I started thinking about every profession I could conjure up…and every one has the opportunity to improve his/her”passion” by the addition of becoming a storyteller within the selected job or career.

Here are some examples:

A shoe sales clerk is voted Best Salesman of the Year because he weaves  stories about this or that brand of shoe and tells the customer what celebrity was ‘recently spotted’ wearing something so similar one couldn’t tell the difference. Each customer would leave the shoe store thinking that she had made a ‘steal of a deal‘ while wearing the shoes of royalty or celebrity back home.

A real estate agent tells a young couple that the house they are looking at made the residents who lived there before them so happy  they wept when they had to leave and he was instructed to pass on to any new customer what a fantastic home, filled with happy karma, awaited them. Best real estate agent around…recognized year after year.

A defense lawyer takes on cases other legal consultants turn down because she takes time to talk to the jury before proceedings begin to tell them the true story of what happened to the defendant and how relatable the defendant’s plight is to everyone sitting in the jury box that day.

There is no profession that can not be enhanced by a story told to ease other’s anxieties, nervousness, and fright about a change in their life that requires legal help, or moving help, counseling help, medical help…the list could go on and on….a well-told story told at the precise moment can alleviate others’ fears and instead instill a sense of calmness, perspective and connection to others.

The better a storyteller…the more successful life (personal and professional) can be lived.

The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories…we are simply wired that way. We can’t remember isolated facts but we can remember a story…because it is connected…a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

The more we can help others see this connection…the better off they are for this hidden knowledge…a treasure forever.

So until tomorrow….No matter what you do…tell it in a story.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I am sure most of us are aware that local, national, and ASPCA foundations are now telling pet stories daily on the news and it is working. Finding “forever homes” for stray pets have increased dramatically since the idea of telling each pet’s story on television was implemented. *(Each animal’s individual story of heartbreak and courage has touched so many potential adoptive pet owners hearts.)

“This is Stitch! We adopted him from Paws in the City in Dallas, and he has quickly become the best part of our little family.”

“This is Kodak! He’s a four-month old black lab/shepherd mix. He came to Alive Rescue Memphis.They had saved him from a hoarding case in Tennessee. I saw his picture and instantly fell in love!

“Here’s Dusty on his adoption day! This photo was taken the actual MOMENT I met him. Can you believe that!? When he was rescued by True North Rescue Mission he was on his way to be a puppy mill dad and live his entire life in a cage.” –

The power of storytelling…it not only changes human lives but also the wonderful animal lives who inhabit this planet with us.

Kaitlyn and her mother, Susan, are in Boston for her niece Lily’s (Lafone) contestant role as  Miss Massachusetts USA and Miss Massachusetts Teen USA contest ….beautiful photo of aunt and niece together yesterday. Good luck! I know there will be some memorable stories from this event!

*We are still a whole day away from the National Football Championship between Clemson and LSU but my stomach is already acting up and I can’t even blame it on the side effects of Verzenio!

The knots seem to be growing tighter as the hours tick by. I don’t know how the players don’t go nuts waiting so long to play such an important game… and then to have to wait until 8 p.m.  Monday night to start. Whew!

Isn’t that unconstitutional…like in the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause? It sure feels like it to fans…to be fair on both sides I am sure it is equally nerve-wracking to LSU!

So all I can say is:

 

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Humans are Wired to Learn Through Stories

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Becky …you are so right…sharing stories are the ties that bind us. Most of the grants that I wrote though my years of teaching had tso deal with storytelling in some respect….and I LOVE hearing stories. I saw it work over the holidays when Fred had to have a biopsy and when he came back to the room not only was he alert but he had stories to share that the doctor shared with him during the procedure which put him at ease…all turned out well but the doctor sharing “stories” with him helped so much…

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Perfect Example…no matter the calling or profession…everyone can do a better job and assist others more helpfully when they converse in stories to put their patients, clients, students, interns, congregations, audiences more at ease through the art of shared storytelling.

      Like

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