What’s in a Story?

Photo Credit: jannoon028 at freedigitalphotos.net
Photo Credit: jannoon028 at freedigitalphotos.net

Why do we tell stories? Whether it was used for religious purposes or passing down a people’s history through the tradition of oral storytelling, the human race has been telling stories since before writing was even invented. The only thing that has really changed over the years is that we are able to share stories on a much wider platform with the help of printing and the internet. In fact, the internet alone has taken our human tendencies to share stories to a whole new level whether we realize it or not.

Take Facebook for example: the main premise of the site is to share bits and pieces of our lives with other people through written statuses, photos, videos, and the like. Even if the language isn’t as thought out or elegant as Shakespeare or C.S. Lewis, we’re still sharing some sort of story with the world every time we click ‘submit.’

The fact that storytelling is a part of who we are as humans is obvious, but one question still remains: why? We watch television shows to be entertained by the story-lines they offer. We tell jokes and watch funny YouTube videos to laugh. Sometimes we watch sappy drama chick-flicks that make us smile and cry, possibly at the same time. We read books that help us discover and imagine a different world than the one we find ourselves living in.

In looking at just a few of these examples, we can start to get an idea of why stories are such an important part of who we are. First, there’s something about experiencing a good story that allows us to temporarily escape our own reality and imagine what it might be like to live in the world of our favorite character’s, travel to the other side of the world, or to a different world altogether. But more than anything, I think that in telling and listening to stories, we are reminded of our own humanity and feel a sense of connection with those that share the story-telling experience.

That’s why we write blogs or share on Facebook; we want to feel connected to other people. To know that our voice is being heard in some way or another. To feel that what we have to share is worth listening to. To know that we are not alone, but are a part of a much larger community of people that are just as human as we are.

Comment Question: What makes a good story? Let me know by sharing your favorite story in the comment section down below! 

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