The 1500 students would start to get restless. They would become distracted and fidgety, especially if the assembly dragged on.
Yet, the moment he started to read, as he did to end every assembly, the students immediately settled, and zeroed in. They became riveted as his deep voice resonated throughout the gymnasium.
Even if the lunch bell went, they would not budge. Mesmerized they would continue to sit, listening intently as the narrative unfolded.
It was quite amazing to watch the entire student body transform so quickly. Switching from noise and motion, to silence and tranquility.
Their response revealed the power of story telling.
And its ability to instantly intrigue and compel attention.
Story telling has incredible capacity to help teach and explain concepts.
It can illustrate truths in a manner that others can hear, and receive. Inviting listeners to consider things from different angles and new perspectives.
Jesus was famous for using stories in His teaching. His stories or parables used concepts and things that were recognizable and familiar to his listeners, such as food, agricultural, or weather, to create the symbols, metaphors and analogies that taught profound and divine truths. The use of such common things in His stories, helped His listeners to better comprehend and memorize what He was attempting to teach.
Storytelling can also be used as an avenue to reach out, include, and create connections between people.
When we share stories, especially our personal stories, we invite others to share in our unique experiences and journeys. Such vulnerability helps create the climate where others feel safe enough to share their stories. Which in turn has the power to foster and deepen connections and relationships
Story telling and teaching was primarily communicated orally as people sat at the teacher’s knees or as families gathered around the fire or over meals. But this has shifted over time to stories being communicated more through our unlimited access to printed material in various formats and books.
But there is loss and sorrow in this shift. For as we have moved from stories being communicated orally, to individuals reading stories in printed formats, we have decreased our opportunities to encounter the magical, spellbinding experience of a community collectively listening to someone tell a worthy story.
For an index of all my posts in the series, please click here.
Photo credits: Books, Eli Francis, from Unsplash