Tag Archives: storytelling

Women Running and Smiling

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an action but a habit. ~Aristotle

from within Runner’s World article by Amby Burfoot

Amby Burfoot has spent his lifetime running, and he shares his secrets in the article referenced above.  I encourage you to take a look – there are some great insights. One of the insights is that the physical act of running is easier than the mental act of running.  We have to believe in ourselves to keep going.

For me, this means that I am constantly training the voice inside my head to say what I want it to say.  It isn’t easy, but some techniques that I use include:

  • Reading daily quotes for inspiration
  • Writing myself reminders
  • Writing blog posts like this one – if I’m talking the talk, I outta be walking the walk

The voice in my head – and I suspect everyone’s – is very powerful in the creation of our story, and it’s up to us to make sure it’s telling the story you want it to tell.

Do you have any techniques or strategies for training your inner voice?  What story did your voice tell you today?

A picture of our cat Suki's face

You Can Make A Difference

Hmm. Five minutes to present any topic that I want to a group of young schoolchildren.  Lot’s of topics jump to mind, including:

  • Be kind to all living creatures
  • Believe in yourself
  • Questions are more powerful than answers

Five minutes isn’t much time. I need to have something I can demonstrate in an engaging and meaningful way.  Kids don’t have the greatest attention span, so I will tell a story.  The story might go something like this:

One day, Joey was out in the neighborhood delivering newspapers and he saw a cat get run over by a car.  He dropped the newspapers, rushed over to the cat, scooped her up, and ran home.

Bursting through the door, he shouts for his mom, who iss busy trying to finish the laundry before going to work.

“Mom, mom, we need to get this cat to the vet, she was just run over by a car!”

“Oh, that’s terrible, Joey,” his mom says, rushing over to take a look.  Inspecting the cat she realizes that this cat is in real trouble, that she doesn’t have the time to get to the vet, and that they don’t know the owner and won’t be able to afford the expenses.

“I’m sorry, Joey.  I just don’t think that there’s much we can do.”

“Why not?  You’ve always helped me take care of animals.  Why can’t we help – she’s going to die?”

Mom looks at the clock, back at the cat, and grabs her car keys.  At the vet, her suspicions are confirmed.  Surgery is required.  She and the vet agree to work out the financial details later and do what they can to save the cat.

Mom drops Joey off at home, where the sitter is waiting, and Joey takes off to finish delivering his papers and find the owner of the cat.  Knocking on door after door he asks if the people own a cat, and if they do, he provides a description of the orange, white, and gray cat.  This goes on for about an hour, until he finally comes to the home where the owners live.

Joey explains the situation provides the business card the vet provided for him.

“Thank you so much,” the people say. “Kitty is such a wonderful cat.  We will call right away and let you know her status as soon as we know.”

Joey heads home to eat dinner and start on his homework.  He learns the next day when he gets home from school that Kitty will live!

About three months later, Joey is delivering his papers and the owners of the cat come outside to greet him.  They give him a kite from a vacation they took, and share with him that since Kitty has been home she’s been a different cat.  She demonstrates affection to all people and even dogs, something never before seen, and the owners are convinced that Kitty knows that Joey, a human, saved him.

A picture of Suki with her back to us  Suki sitting on a couch arm facing usHome on the Couch 2

Perhaps not the best told story, but these are just talking notes for my presentation!

Thinking about what the kids can walk away from this story with:

  1. Don’t always take the first answer you get.  If Joey had taken his mother’s first answer the story ends with a dead cat.
  2. Other people will do mean things, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will.  There is a mix of good and bad acts within this story.
  3. Even cats can recognize that you are kind and this will impact their behavior.
  4. You can make a difference.  Without Joey’s actions Kitty surely will pass.

What do you think?  Will the kids like it?

A left hand holding a pen starting to write on a blank piece of paper.

Don’t listen to negative influences.  Believe in yourself, and show others what you can do.  Only you can find your own potential.

~ Marla Runyan, two-time Olympian for the 1500m and 5000m; via the Runner’s World desk calendar, February 27, 2013

I spend far too much time trying to listen to others and use their input to determine my path.  It’s not that they don’t believe in me, it’s that they aren’t me.  As the world-class athlete Marla Runyon states above, it’s up to each of us to determine who we want to be and to start telling our story the way we want it to be told.

photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle via photopin cc

A teacher in front of young students telling them a story from a picture book.

The Power of Storytelling

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 8, 2013.

Prompt:  The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .) : a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

These stories can be perceived as fun and harmless, they can be perceived as lies without justification, or they can be seen as teaching children that stories are what drives the world. I prefer to think of them as educational and empowering.

When we tell children the story of Santa Claus, they begin to learn that:

  1. There is someone in the world that keeps an eye on them.
  2. If they learn to behave well good things will happen for them.
  3. Not every belief is real, but they learn that they can create their own reality through the power of storytelling.

And if we take a look at how life in American culture is currently working:

  1. We are constantly being watched, by friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc…most of us have someone’s eye on us at all times.
  2. We are rewarded for behavior that matches the expectations of our culture.  As adults, this typically means jobs and financial success, but it can also apply in friendship, courtship, and citizenship.
  3. We have to learn to tell stories each day to understand who we are and to help convey our ideas to others.  Some of this is based upon reality, but how we position and tell our stories can carry much more weight than facts many times.

There are additional examples that can be drawn, but I think you get the idea. The power of storytelling is potentially the most powerful lesson, as it can inform and shape all interactions. It’s the conscious awareness that our stories create and shape our reality that gives us the power over our lives.

photo credit: kodomut via photopin cc