My dear friend Maureen in Hawaii reminds me of the importance of “Talking Story.” This is a cultural thing not just in that lovely state but other places too. In fact, it is one of the things that makes us uniquely human. You can hear it visiting with farmers here in New Mexico, standing together, watching the irrigation water flow into the onion field and hearing the story of how their family came to this country four generations ago. You can see it in the eyes of the Native American man standing in his cool, shadowed room at the Taos Pueblo as he speaks of horse training and how the hot springs ease the aches and pains afterwards.
Look for the Story
I’ve learned to look for story wherever I am and to give margin and space for hearing. It’s not all about business and deadlines, of course we have to finish the task, but take the time to hear the stories too.
Three tips for better story gathering:
- Schedule space around your visits with people to hear their stories
Leave a bit more time in your daily schedule and really listen to the people you’re talking with
2. Keep pencil and paper with you to jot down those memories
Note how your grandparents’ hands look as they fix a car, wash dishes or caress a grandchild
Really look at the joy in your child’s eyes as they play with the puppy
3. Intentionally ask for a story
What do you remember about that?
What was “X” like when you were a kid?
Go Get That Story
Sit down with one person this week and ask them to share a bit of their story —a specific memory. Will it make you laugh? Or cry? Maybe a little bit of both. Whose story will you tell?