Why are stories important? Storytelling connects you with humanity; it's a link to the past and a glimpse into the future. Ever since humans first walked upon the Earth, they have told stories. At first, these stories were conveyed through drawings on the cave wall.later, after language developed, these stories were told while sitting around the campfire. Things happen to humans and these are the elements of a story. Storytellers learned early on that their audiences liked to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Too, humans are drawn to stories where the characters look like them or, at least, have traits and qualities that they can relate to. For a story to be really entertaining, humans like a thrilling climax followed by a satisfying ending. Humans enjoy not only listening to a good story, but also love to read, and watch them, too.
Here are a few reasons why humans (and frogs, too) need storytellers:
1. To feel connected to others; to share their joy, sorrow, love, etc (empathy). This makes humans feel not so alone. It confirms their humanity.(empathy)
2. To see themselves in the story; ie their profession, position in life, etc
3. To see themselves as they'd like to be; perhaps as an action hero or doctors savings lives....
4. To find friends in the character; the types of humans you might like to know and spend time with. For me, I actually start to miss the characters in a book after I'm finished reading it. It's like they've moved away and left to forwarding address (unless I open the book again and reread it).
5. Stories can be cautionary tales; reminders of what can happen if the humanity of others is forgotten or remind us of the horrific atrocities that can be inflicted onto those we consider our enemies.
6. To purge themselves of guilt, shame, fear (etc) We all know how much better we feel after a good cry at the end of a really sad movie....
7. To teach the history of a culture.
8. To endow morals and principles.
9. To distract or divert attention from an unpleasant real-life situation.
10. To entertain, to teach, and to educate.
11. To provoke or agitate.
12. To incite and to intellectually stimulate.
13. To inspire (as in social change or innovations).
14. To shape and change social prejudices.
15. To give meaning to life.
16. To impart religious doctrine.
17. To punish/scare children (Think Little Red Riding Hood!)
18. To express beauty.
Storytelling serves many functions in the lives of humans but none more than "to hold a mirror up to nature" by passing on its values and uses. Stories allow people to make sense out of the chaos of human existence.
Storytelling is an ancient practice and is a wonderful way to pass on family traditions, and histories. Humans can gain strength from learning about the struggles of their ancestors. I am honored to call myself a writer...a storyteller. How can you celebrate this day? Gather 'round your family and swap stories. Share your memories of childhood with parents and siblings. Tell your children about their past; where they came from and who their ancestors were. We all have stories to tell and stories to learn. It doesn't matter if they're long ones or short ones. The point is to tell them.
And of course use #NationalTellAStoryDay on all your social media.
Live. Create. Tell the story. Repeat.