Stories are one of the most meaningful ways we can connect with people. They are an integral part of the way we communicate. Often, we first experience stories in the form of books read to us as children. Has a book changed your life? Many have changed mine. Read on for my thoughts on this question and the power of storytelling.
At the heart of all compelling songs, television, movies, and jokes are well-told stories. If you want to land a dream job, tell a fantastic story. Want to be the life of the party? Then, create a story that people will tell for years to come through your actions. Why do people watch professional wrestling? Because of the story leading up to the match and the one the athletes tell in the ring through their live art performance.
Stories define us. The Bible comprises stories that are the foundation for millions of people’s faith. Inspirational quotes and mantras are stories that propel people to improve their lives. Company mission statements and personal philosophies are stories. Everywhere you turn, there are stories.
My father read One-Minute Bedtime Stories by Shari Lewis to me every night as a child for a long time. This book, which I still have, is a collection of 20 one-minute stories, including well-known fairy tales, legends, and fables. The stories are short and sweet, and the book features beautiful illustrations to accompany the text. My Dad has a warm, deep voice, so his delivery of these stories each night was just as comforting as my blanket and pillow. I’m grateful he read to me nightly because it instilled a passion for stories and storytelling that defines who I am today. I’m now a prolific writer and a voracious reader, primarily due to him reading me one-minute bedtime stories.
One book can launch a child into the future. My wife and I read to our son daily, and his teachers read to him at school too. He enjoys it when I sing to him, so he’s getting stories with a melody as well. The most important story you can tell another human being is three words: “I love you.”
I’m reading Eric Bischoff’s latest biography right now, and his father never told him that he loved or was proud of him. I find this profoundly sad. My parents always told me they love me and are proud of me. Even my grandfather, who was not a paragon of emotional expression, told me the same. I’m lucky because their emotional support empowered me to be who I am today and to express my love and pride for my son. I will always love and be proud of him, regardless of what he chooses to do with his life. Why? Because I know the power of stories, and “I love you” is the most powerful story of all.
Has a book changed your life? I hope so. If it hasn’t, don’t worry. It’s never too late to experience the magic of a well-told story. You can read it to yourself or listen to an audiobook. Never stop reading or experiencing stories, whether through books, television, video games, movies, or just by living your life. Stories inspire us, bind us, and they are what we have when everything else is gone. A life well lived is one filled with stories that make you laugh and smile, and that is my sincere wish for you. I’m happy to say I have already experienced this, and it all started with a book that changed my life.
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