A while back. I wrote a lot about the importance of story, particularly in communicating values and connecting with people. The concept of story as a way for people to connect and understand one another is important, and projects like StoryCorps help facilitate these connecting stories.
Stories can also help to correct misunderstands and misperceptions and to build bridges across cultures. That’s the goal of Storytellers, an event being put on by the veteran’s group Got Your 6. In my Washington Times Communities Pages column, I write about how the group hopes to bridge the civilian-military divide with stories and conversations that connect people, and also to harness the skills and abilities of veterans to help their communities.
A lot of the article is about challenging vets, but in my conversation with Chris Marvin, the managing director of Got Your 6, I felt challenged. I felt challenged that “Thanks for your service” and dropping off cookies to the VFW is not enough. If I care about veterans and I care about my community, I’ll be the person who reaches out, asks questions, and begins to bridge the divide. The challenge this Veterans Day is to say “thank you” — but don’t leave it at that.
But that’s hard, isn’t it? Not just to approach a vet you may not know or not know well, but to approach anyone and say, “Tell me your story.” There’s a vulnerability here, a chance they’ll be put out or think you’re weird or whatever. Or maybe even worry about that what you’ll hear will be unexpected and challenge your perceptions. (Speaking to myself here, too.)
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Read more at Between Errands and check out the Storytellers event at the link below. The talks will be posted online if you can’t watch them live.
UPDATE: The full Storytellers event. Skip to 15 minutes in for the start of the event.