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The Power of Storytelling: Soap and KT Boundaries

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The evo conference is still with me. One moment, in particular, just keeps playing over and over in my mind. Derreck Kayongo spoke to us and shared his mission, vision, and passion for giving impoverished people dignity by giving them soap. He told of a time he shared the “story” of the bar of soap with a woman who was receiving it. He said she cradled the soap in her hand and said, “Oh, I could never use this soap—it's so valuable.”

Imagine that—a story can give value to a bar of soap! So how valuable can telling our stories make a child, a spouse, a grandparent, or even ourselves feel?

I began to understand the importance of storytelling while sitting in a small theater at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. A storyteller talked about a line in the layers of the earth made of sediment rare to our planet. But interestingly, the material in that layer is common in space.

Jonesborough, Tennessee

 

That means about 65 million years ago something “out of this world” happened to our Mother Earth. She has never been the same since. This layer is evidence, a literal line in earth’s history, that marks the end of one era, and the beginning of a new one. This layer is called the KT Boundary.

KT Boundary Line

I’m not super into science, but I find that fascinating. If you could look at my life like the layers of our earth, you would see some personal KT Boundary Lines—events that have taken place and have changed the composition of who I am.

The Fall of 2005, when I attended that festival and found storytelling, was one of them. Since then, I see story everywhere (and there was a lot of it at evo!). I have made it my mission, vision, and passion to help others recognize the power of story. When we really understand the power of story, we realize how it strengthens families, connects generations, and creates communities.

So, in several upcoming posts, I will share prompts and ideas for writing the story of someone you know. You can write your own story, or maybe you will choose someone in your life that perhaps doesn't feel very “valuable.” Whose ever story you decide to tell, prepare to be amazed as you see the magic of story unfold.

In five simple posts, we will cover a lot of ground, and we won't do it the way you might be used to. With the right questions, we will get to the heart of your (or someone else's) story, very simply and quickly.

Directions:

Each week I will share some questions to prompt your story. Take a minute to answer them if you're writing your story. If you're writing someone else's, maybe you can use them as interview questions, or answer them to the best of your knowledge if it's more of a tribute. You are welcome to make it as formal or informal as you like—do what's best for your situation. (And p.s. if you don't like a question, that's ok, just skip it and move on to one you like better. Sometimes it only takes one good question to get the memories flowing.)

Chances are you have some KT Boundary Lines in your life. For some of you, evo might be one of them. The following questions will help you excavate some of your KT Boundary Lines. (More questions like these can be found in the “Lessons About Life” Story Starter. You can download a copy of the Story Starter here, use this coupon to receive 20% off: momitforward2012

Storytelling Starter Questions:

Here's some questions. Let's get started:

1. Describe someone you admire and want to be like. What do you admire about this person? How do you know this person? Are you close or have you admired them from afar? How does your admiration of this person impact your behavior and/or the way you feel about yourself?

2. Describe a time when you changed your perspective or opinion about a long-held belief. What triggered the change? How did things change in your life as a result of seeing things differently?

3. Do you have strong religious, political, and/or social convictions? Describe how they were formed. Who was a part of helping you develop these feelings? How do these convictions dictate your behavior on a daily basis? How do these convictions impact your relationships with other important people in your life?

4. What role does education play in your life? How do you learn new things? What have you enjoyed learning about? Tell about memorable teachers; what did they teach you and why are they memorable?

5. What ways are you most comfortable expressing love? What is love to you? Who taught you about love and how did they teach you? Who are some people you have loved significantly and what has loving them taught you?

Do keep a journal? How do you share your story with your kids?

Check out other posts in our Power of Story series:

For over 20 years, Carol Rice has been a national presenter, lecturer, author, and conducted hundreds of workshops and training events about the power of storytelling. Carol learned first hand the importance of bringing your heritage to life through the power of story. She currently serves as President of a storytelling and family history publisher, Cherish|Bound. She produces an annual event called [email protected]. She has served as Outreach Executive Director for Timpanogos Storytelling Institute and Finance Chair of the National Storytelling Network. Everyone has a story—Carol's mission is to help you tell yours. Find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or email her at [email protected].
 

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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