“Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story” – Fred Rogers
You don’t know my story, but what if you did? Would you treat me with more compassion and care if you knew the hurdles overcome and the ones that still stand before me? Would you choose kindness knowing the environment swirling around me pulling my emotions in so many different directions? There has been something I recite to myself in educational settings over the years. Every child, every family has a story already before they even enter my classroom. The catch is, I don’t have to know their story to choose kindness, to extend compassion, to teach with care. I’m going to assume that the story is there and I may discover parts of the story as we work together but I may not.
The stories of our lives provide connection, empathy, and vulnerability. They create space for a helping hand, bridge generations, support change, and inspiration. “Story is central to human meaning.” (Patrick J. Lewis 2011) Some of my favorite authors and researchers use storytelling to explain and share science. Authors like Brene Brown, Emily and Amelia Nagoski, Rachel Hollis, and Glennon Doyle are a few of my current favorites.
I have read that storytelling may have become more prominent when our ancestors began controlling the use of fire. It makes total sense to me, I picture the kitchen island or the dining room table, the fire pit on the patio or fireplace in the family room. These stories are our truths and should be regarded as such. You will find my stories, my truths, on this blog to give information, insights, perspectives, and most importantly in my opinion; hope.
Some stories we are excited to share and come with ease. We are bursting at the seems for someone to share them with. Good news seems to flow so quickly and easily. Other stories are buried with us in the ground, never to enter another soul. If I choose to lead my life with a wild heart, I have the opportunity to make this journey with a supportive community instead of “a dark force that inevitably poisons everything I(we) do.” (Marc Brackett, PhD Permission to Feel)
Along with my little anecdotes, I will be highlighting children’s books that have been important inspirations in my educational career and my family. For any adult who thinks picture books are just for kids, I hope I can change your mind. The message might be in a simpler form but these are big ideas and the illustrations speak a thousand words. We use our own stories and the stories of others as teachable moments, self exploration, and connection with others. It is almost miraculous to watch the lightbulb go on when a child receives a message from a story that you as the parent have been trying to communicate for weeks, months, or years! No wonder there are so many books laying around this lake house…