Shepherds and Storytellers Part 2: The Storyteller

In December, I had the opportunity to attend a conference related to my day job in utility management. As I mentioned in my previous post, it was set up differently than most conferences. Save for a keynote presentation, all of the sessions were panel discussions. The moderator was the shepherd to move the panelists through their presentations. The panelists were called storytellers.

Why the different name? As the conference progressed, it came to me. Each panelist taught not from theory but from case study. Truly, what they did is they taught through storytelling. Why are storytellers so important?

They pass on real-life experience.

Rather than drone on about theory, the panelists at this conference shared real-life experiences from their jobs. Many of us face the same issues they do, and it encouraged us to know that these panelists, teaching through case studies, taught through story about how they handled situations. Hopefully, many of us left with a more solid understanding of the issues we face in our work.

They show that our experiences are not new.

Though we don’t have children, Steve and I have friends who are now empty-nesters and have gone through difficulties with teenagers. They’re seasoned and freely share their stories with others. Hopefully, as other parents are now experiencing this situation with their own children, they can realize that first, they’re not alone and second, their experiences are those that have happened before to others.

They steep us in history.

Thousands of years ago, when much of society was illiterate, storytellers played a sacred role. They were tasked with the responsibility of orally passing along history to the next generation. What many children probably thought of as talking about the same thing over and over again actually imprinted upon them the history of their family, their town, and their society. Storytelling played a critical role in what actually was transcribed.

They encourage us.

Storytellers, be it in that formal conference setting or over cups of tea at the local coffee shop, can serve as encouragers. A couple of years ago when I struggled with a round of anxiety that had thrown me way off balance, friends came over to encourage me. The husband reminded me of his own battle with anxiety, something I’d forgotten since it’d happened over twelve years before. Though I still had a ways to go at that point, I could look at him and see his peaceful countenance and know that I could get through it as well.

They show us we’re not alone.

This loops back to some of the other topics. When we struggle with something, it’s helpful to understand that we’re not alone in our battles. I have a beautiful group of friends from church. We’ve been together to pray for each other for over fifteen years. “We do life together.” That’s the phrase we’ve adopted as our theme. The ups, downs, and arounds, we walk with each other and pray for and with each other. Part of our times together includes talking about our experiences. In other words, storytelling. I hope that when we part ways for the week, we feel like we aren’t alone in life.

Storytelling should always hold a high value in our lives. Whether we’re teaching by case study at a formal conference, telling our kids how we got through a particular life issue, or seeking wisdom from a friend who has walked through the same thing before us, we can rest assured that we can be encouraged and realize that we’re not alone in our struggles.

Storytelling can be a way to encourage others. #Authenticity #encouragement Click To Tweet

Question: What is a story you have you could tell to encourage others?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments