Embellishing Stories Can Backfire

Dear Reader:

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has arrived safely today and no matter the circumstances… take time to give thanks for life and loved ones who make life worth living.

As a storyteller I am fond of embellishing stories I tell to groups…whether adults or children…tall tales get “taller” and funny episodes become hilarious…while serious situations become nail-biter cliff-hangers. It is all part of the ‘trade’ as we like to say.

Quinn Caldwell, theologian and author, finds embellishments with stories in scripture…that were later added to elevate the interest surrounding the story in question. He chuckles and admits that we humans love “add-on’s” to stories.

He writes….“Stories, especially the important ones, have a way of picking up embellishments and details over time.  I can think of at least two oft-told stories from my early childhood that I’m pretty certain can’t have actually happened the way my family tells them.  

…But they’ve been told and heard so many times that they’re definitely true even if they didn’t quite happen the way we tell them.  At its best, this process can make stories truer even while making them less factual.

However not all our embellishments are so harmless.  Hear your own story told enough times with embellishments like “goof-ball” or “stupid,” and you might start to believe them.  Tell your own story enough times with additions like “unworthy” or “failure,” and other people might start to believe them.”

Quinn Caldwell advises us to bring God into our writings and thoughts…because He is the only Publisher Who matters…because only God truly knows our “real” story and if told correctly…it is a best-seller… because God created us to be capable of becoming the very best we can be.

So until tomorrow…Let us pray…

“God, here’s my story.  Edit it, correct it, rewrite it until everyone, including me, tells it the way you do.  Amen. “

*I have to admit I don’t think I will need to embellish anything about this unique Thanksgiving experience…except to thank God, on this day of Thanksgiving, for offering me this once-in-a-lifetime experience with loved ones. Thank You!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Don’t want to end on a sad note…I put the news in yesterday’s blog around noon…but if you missed it…Tigger didn’t make it home…instead he returned home to his Creator. John and Mandy were able to be with him at the end…so he was surrounded with love….as you can imagine…a pretty tough Thanksgiving for the family…but also one filled with thankfulness and gratitude for this dog in all their lives…who brought them so much happiness.

When Eva Cate (Evie) was born…he was the “big bro” and wore his t-shirt to welcome her to the family.

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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1 Response to Embellishing Stories Can Backfire

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    So very sorry about Tigger….thinking of them. Hope they got to go on to John’s family for Thanksgiving…nothing helps the soul better than loved ones…


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