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What's Your Story?
By Susan Hines-Brigger

Q U I C K S C A N

A Bible Full of Stories
Celebrating Our Stories
For Teens: Get the Story
For Kids: Bringing Stories to Life



In my home office is a painting by artist Kelly Rae Roberts that bears the words: "Your story matters (tell it)." It is my favorite piece of art because it speaks to a truth that I hold dear. It is also why I became a writer.

I firmly believe that everyone has his or her own story that is unique. And I also believe that we can all learn something, find some revelation, in someone else's story.

Our lives are inundated with other people's stories on a daily basis. We watch them on TV or at the movies. We read them in newspapers and magazines or hear them around the dinner table.

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A Bible Full of Stories

Even a good part of our faith is based on stories. The Bible is full of them. Could you imagine not having the Christmas story or the Passion? And without the Bible we wouldn't know the stories of Lazarus, Jonah, Job or Noah.

From each story, whether in the Bible or in our lives, we garner some bit of insight into the person. Sometimes that insight can serve as an inspiration; other times it can be a cautionary tale. But we no doubt take a piece of their story forward with us.

That's why I am so passionate about letting people know that their stories matter. 

Celebrating Our Stories

Here are some ways that you and your family can celebrate the many stories in your lives.

Tell it. Some families I know have created blogs to chronicle the events in their lives and share them with others. You could also create a yearly scrapbook. Throughout the year, write down funny tales or anecdotes and put them in the scrapbook.

Look back. Pull out your children's baby books or go through their memorabilia box and revisit items and the stories related to them.

For instance, my daughter Maddie loves hearing the story about how, when she was a baby, my husband, Mark, and I used to play a rainforest CD to help her get to sleep. One evening I laid her in her crib, put in her CD and went off to clean. Suddenly I started hearing growling noises. I searched the house and eventually made it back to Maddie's room, where I found her in her crib looking wide-eyed and terrified. I had accidentally put the jungle animals CD in instead of the soft sounds of the rainforest.

Share your favorite stories. Do you have a favorite story from the Bible? What about your favorite children's book or classic novel? Set aside some family time and have everyone bring some of their favorite books. Talk about why you like the story or book. You might learn something new about your family members.

Check it out. Ever wonder how St. Francis became the patron saint of animals? Or how Joan of Arc got involved in fighting the English? Check out their stories by going to the library or going online for these and many other saints' stories. Don't know where to start? Investigate the patron saint of your parish or school or your namesake.

 

Growing up, I was always fascinated with the stories of my grandparents and parents. They always seemed so exciting. For instance, I was amazed when I found out that my father took part in an atomic test in 1955 at the Nevada Test Site (then known as the Nevada Proving Ground) while he was in the Army. He would describe to us exactly how it looked, felt, sounded, etc. These days my own children ask him to tell the story.

I'm sure you know people who have fascinating stories that you would like to hear. Or maybe you haven't had the chance to hear the stories yet because they never came up. Here's your opportunity to get those stories and save them for posterity. Wouldn't it be great to be able to share them with future generations?

Find someone whom you would like to interview. It could be a relative, a neighbor, a teacher, etc. Come up with a list of questions that you would like to ask. Some starter questions might be:

• What event has had the most profound impact on your life and why? (You could ask this question about his or her personal life and about world events.)
• What are you most proud of?
• Is there anything you wish you had done differently in your life?

Use a video camera or tape recorder to capture their answers.

Recently my son, Alex, had to do a book report for school where he created a puppet of what he thought the main character looked like. It was interesting to see how he imagined the character.

Take a favorite book or Bible story and create a real-life example of something from the story. You can draw a picture, make a model of one of the characters or the setting or even prepare a meal that is featured in the story. Use your imagination to bring the story to life and then share it with your friends and family.

 

Do you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this column? If so, send them to me at "Faith-filled Family," 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to Family@franciscanmedia.org.


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