What things do you remember most about your childhood? What thoughts or images spring to mind?
Try to describe that memory to someone, and very likely, you'll find yourself telling a story. There's a setting. There are characters. And that story is probably connected to the other stories of your life.
Our brains are wired for storytelling. Every lesson we learn, every truth we discover about ourselves & about the world, everything we carry with us in our lives—we remember those things best when they're contained in a story.
And you have the power to help shape someone else's story.
Maybe she's a girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut, or a novelist, or a game designer, or a film maker. But she's hit a challenge that feels too hard to overcome.
With a word of encouragement, a kind smile, or a helping hand, you can change that story from one of defeat to one of winning against the odds.
Maybe she feels different from everyone else, alone, outcast. By sharing stories of others like her, she can connect her struggles with something bigger than herself.
It could be a fun experience. Or a special gift. Or simply time well-spent together. Take a look around you and you'll see stories in the making all around you.
You don't have to be the hero of every person's story. In fact, you couldn't if you tried. But you can help someone else begin to seeherself as more heroic in the stories of her life.
One Mother+Daughter's Extraordinary Project
Few stories have more power than the ones that connect us to those who have come before. Our shared history helps us to understand where we came from, how we got here, and why it matters.
Cristi Smith-Jones (@MsKittiFatale) and her daughter have been working on a project throughout Black History Month. It connects them both to the stories of civil rights pioneers, scientists, writers, entertainers, and trailblazers. And it couldn't be more beautiful.
Every day, Cristi tweets a photo of her daughter dressed & posing side-by-side with a historical figure. You have only to see the expressions her daughter makes to understand that this is truly a joint mother-daughter project.
When I shared these pictures with my kids, it led to some very interesting conversations. ("What do you mean it used to be against the law to marry someone who looked different from you?")
This is why history matters. It's not a collection of events that happened a long time ago. It is the earlier chapters of the same story we occupy today.
It's not some other group of people. History is us, only in a different context, a different time and place. And when we are gone, our history becomes the legacy we bequeath to future generations.