Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Telling History

"Without stories there is nothing. Stories are the world's memory. The past is erased without stories." Chaim Potok

Without a good story, history is not as interesting. Before the written histories there were "story tellers"– those who would tell their stories around camp fires to give people a knowledge of who they were from the mighty warriors to those who were the examples for our cultural morality. They learned the trade in youth through listening and repeating the tales of those who came before. They followed those older tellers of tales around memorizing the narratives of people and events to be totally accurate and thoroughly precise in their accounts - word for word in fact! Having a history right defined their job and who they were.

Any good storyteller was expressive to create an image that explained and often held their listeners spell bound. Most of those around the fire also learned those stories well. The tales were heard over and over again - always with the facts, but continuously told with enthusiasm and an abundance of excitement built into those sagas.

If we think about it there were stories that helped us grew into who we are, and those stories gave us the tools to become the people we needed to be within our society. It was also where faith was learned. The tales were told of heroes and the people we needed to stay away from through our life walks. Can you imagine listening to stories of who you want to be in a well told story?

It was a time where people gathered together to learn who we were and how to live daily. Today, we have books, tapes, and computer games, but somewhere we’ve lost the fun and excitement that comes from sharing stories told around a campfire, or shared by a special grandparent. History has lost that special contact from those who know it by heart.

What stories do you have to share? Every family has a history that needs to be shared. Take time to learn those stories before they disappear. Stories of a grandfather who owned a family circus in the 1800s, or an ancestor who traveled to America, or stories about that great war - these are tales that connect us to the past and to each of our family’s own histories. Take time to listen to the "story tellers" in your family and those in your community, these stories are ours histories and they make each of us who we are.

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