Unless we pause to ask, “Why that story,” or “Why that story told that way,” we may find ourselves trying to live the story we’ve always heard. In my family we tell great love stories. Listen long enough and you might spend your whole life waiting to be swept off your feet.
Stories get better with time. Families exaggerate because they want the stories to be remembered. Pay attention. The whoppers contain clues as to what the family thinks is important. George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree; never said “I cannot tell a lie.” So why, as an American family, do we keep telling that story? When we stop telling it, what has changed?
Stories have voices. If all our stories are about hardship, we may not be able to hear good news. If our stories are about old hurts, we feel a duty to right old wrongs. Old hatreds are passed along the same way.
Stories are slogans. “In our family we ___________” is a sentence most of us can complete. Question is, who decides how to fill in that blank?
If you come from a family of war heroes, does it become unthinkable to not put on a uniform? If you come from a family that goes to college, is becoming a plumber an option or a failure?
Giving a new twist to an old story can make a huge difference. Have you examined your family stories lately?