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There is always something to learn The amazing impact of telling and listening to stories

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” –Bill Nye

I love this tender video. No one is too old or young to have a positive impact upon one another, just by asking questions and listening.

When I was in grade school, my teacher gave us a fantastic assignment. Find someone from each decade (going back to the 1890s) and ask them about their youth and life. If we didn’t have someone in our own family to talk to, we were supposed to go to retirement homes and community groups until we found someone from every decade. My family lives a long time, so I had people to talk to.

It was so enlightening to hear those stories. I don’t know if I’d ever know them if I wasn’t given that assignment. Because I was young when these conversations happened, I remember the things a young person might remember. For instance, 80 years after it happened, my maternal great grandfather remembered the name of the little girl whose pigtails he dipped in ink in school. (And 40 years later, this is what I remember of that conversation.) My maternal grandmother told me about her one room school house (16 kids in attendance from all 12 grades combined) and growing up poor with an outhouse in North Dakota. My paternal great-grandmother talked about the journey from Sweden, arriving in the U.S. with $18 at 18 years old. Her husband was a barber. My grandmother shared a new little fact about him years later (and only a few years ago). I was having lunch with her and she announced her father used to cut Charlie Chaplin’s hair. How had I never heard of this in her years on earth? Because 98 years of life contains scads of unheard stories.

There are always stories to be heard and stories to tell.

How can we be a part of each other’s stories? How well do we try to know one another?

When we care enough to listen and we’re vulnerable enough to reveal our stories we begin to know one another. When we know one another, we’re more likely to understand one another and we’re more likely to act in the interests of others and not just ourselves.

This connection is crucial. It’s foundational to becoming more Hero Minded.

Tell your stories and listen to theirs.

 

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