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They will make you laugh, they will make you cry, and they will certainly make you want to fight. But, that’s the point isn’t it? The strength of the emotion experienced by the audience is the power of a great story!
I have always loved stories, especially great stories retelling the triumph of the human spirit, like “Chariots of Fire,” Blue Baby Syndrome,” and “Cool Runnings.” As children we were always the captive audience of family stories told by our parents who were raised in rural Jamaica, and their journey to Kingston. Beyond their “story-time,” we were always encouraged to read books. So, our appetites were fed in the childhood wonder of Enid Blyton tales, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries.
The teen years continued with trading books between friends. We read anything from the required literature texts, newspapers and comics, to romances in Sweet Dreams and Harlequin novels, as well as the triumphant biographies of Nelson Mandela, Ben Carson and Heather Whitestone. As an adult moving between cultures, more mature authors offered captivating stories of intrigue and spell-binding tales of the human experience including John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, David Baldacci, Victoria Christopher Murray and Nicholas Sparks.
But some of the greatest stories told today are told on the big screen – movies, movies, and more movies. Some of the greats include family stories like The Lion King, and Ghostbusters; to more adult films like Rocky, Titanic, Roots, Pride and Prejudice, Schindler’s List, and A Tale of Two Cities. More epic features are inspired by biblical themes such as The Ten Commandments and Passion of the Christ.
Some of the movies that shaped my childhood were The King and I and Oklahoma. Oh, we watched a lot of movies growing up that were shown on the local television stations. But these were treasured because they were among the first video cassettes that my dad brought home for us. It was the first time we had control over our viewing and we enjoyed it by playing them over and over and over again.
So, what’s the point of all these great stories? Simply that they capture the human experience!
Great stories are made of the journey of a people as they wrestle with their environment to reveal the strength of the human will. Great stories preserve the life of a family as they grow and move and conquer spaces as a legacy for their children and grand-children. Great stories are filled with morals that teach us to be kind, to respect others, to be disciplined, and to honour the truth.
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So, what’s your great story? Is it a folk tale or a family tale? Perhaps, a treasured book? Or, better yet, has it been flashing in living color across the big screen? Please remember that your story is forever changed as you encounter the stories of others. Let each story touch you, let each story teach you, but most of all let each story inspire you.
“Walk good,” my friend, as your story is still being written. Nature’s bounty is closer than you think. Visit my YouTube channel and catch a preview of what’s to come at https://youtu.be/dPM6DGUZ0JU . Also consider other stories on display at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD. Teachers, your story can be changed in as little as 21 days after reading For a Teacher’s Heart.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash by James Coleman