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The Surprising Power of Stories

Posted on: November 28th, 2012 by Allissa

Stories are powerful. They help us come closer together, reveal new things about ourselves and teach our children about the world around them. In fact, studies show there’s a link between children’s self-esteem and knowing their family history!

The holiday season provides lots of opportunities to gather around the table and swap stories. Between bites of stuffing, ask grandma about her first school dance. And before pie is served, have Uncle Jim tell you about his proudest moment. You may be surprised by the things you learn!

StoryCorps has even designated Nov. 23 as a “National Day of Listening,” which encourages people to record a story with someone special. This could be a parent, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, friend, neighbor or anyone you think has a story to share.

As an example, check out “Sunday at Rocco’s,” StoryCorps’ latest animation. Rocco Galasso was the owner and superintendent of a building in New York City, where he cooked big family dinners every Sunday. Unfortunately, the city eventually condemned the building in order to build new apartments, and the dinners came to an end. This beautiful story is all about family, loss and the hidden price of progress. It’s both heartwarming and some serious “food for thought.”

Remember: a simple questions can yield a beautiful story. So why not ask a few at your next family dinner? Here are some great conversation starters from StoryCorps:

Questions for Grandparents

  • How did you and grandma/grandpa meet?
  • What were your parents and grandparents like?
  • How would you like to be remembered?

Questions for Parents

  • When did you first find out that you’d be a parent? How did you feel?
  • How has being a parent changed you?
  • What traditions did you have in your family growing up?

Questions for Anyone

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Do you believe in love at first sight?
  • Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?

For even more questions from StoryCorps, check out their Great Questions List.

If you record your story, send it to us as a message on Facebook and we may upload it to our page! You can also share your story with StoryCorps through their website.

Happy listening, everyone!