“Come, rather,” then she said, “dear guest, and tell us
From the beginning the Greek stratagems…”
The room fell silent, and all eyes were on him,
As Father Aeneas from his high couch began…
Virgil, The Aeneid

Each of us has stories: the stories that are chapters of our life.

To hear another’s stories is to enter the drama of his life. Often, it is also to learn a part of our own story. Yet the lives of many of those closest to us—including our own parents and grandparents, or our dear friends—can remain a closed book to us.

It is in our power to open these books, but it will take a specific effort. We have lost the habits and contexts of story-telling and of generational sharing. As a result, we—and especially the young—have become prey to the narratives that dominate the airwaves of life today. News and other media outlets, the all-pervasive marketing industry, and the brokers of entertainment and social media: these all act powerfully to impose their narratives on our life.

The art of story-telling is an art of sharing a better narrative, one more personal, contextualized, and expressive of our principles and worldview. This concerns each of us, and we all can do something. Now is the time to act.

We can take initiative in expressing interest and in making contexts for story-telling. This is not easy today. A few generations ago a holiday meal was a natural context, since people gathered in homes with few distractions.

Today we must choose to turn off many things—computers, mobile devices, televisions, etc., and, of course, say no to the incessant call to shop. All this, so we can say yes to presence and connection: one key form of which is story-telling.

Our elders have no expectation that we want to hear their stories or that there will be a context for them to be heard. We can change that. Those who are older (even if not very ‘old’) will need to step forward; we/they have something to say that needs to be heard. The feeling of ‘what do I have to share’ must be overcome.

What was it like growing up where and when you did? How did you meet your spouse, or your friends? How were you educated? Where did you work? What adventures did you have? What helped you get through difficult times? What might you do differently? What about the stories you heard from your elders? To those who love you, these stories are life-giving, and only you can tell them.

What better time to make space for story-telling and life-sharing than at our Thanksgiving gathering and the upcoming Christmas season? It will take some effort and some re-arranging of our plans. But the pay-off will be beyond reckoning.

Virgil (70-19 B.C.) is the great Roman poet, author of The Aeneid and The Georgics. This post is a reworking of a Wednesday Quote from several years ago.

Image: Albert Anker (Swiss, 1831-1910)

Concepts Made Clear. Clearer thinking one concept at a time. Opens Tuesday November 30. See below to become a LifeCraft Member.

 

Become A LifeCraft Member

Become a LifeCraft Member and gain access to our online courses and exclusive content. It's FREE of charge. Period.

If you join as a contributing member, you will help make this content available to an increasing audience. Your financial assistance enables me to spend more time in this work. I thank you in advance.

Join the LifeCraft community today and get access to:

  • Man of the Household (Course)
  • Woman of the Household (Course)
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Making the Times that Matter

Making the Times that Matter

“There is a valley in south England remote from ambition and from fear...” Hilaire Belloc, 'The Mowing of a Field' Reading a Belloc essay aloud is one of my favorite things to do with students in my home—or in this case around a bonfire. Such readings were very...

read more
Start with How You Eat

Start with How You Eat

“We can ask whether and to what extent our customs about eating are informed by insights into our nature. We can even ask whether and to what extent our customs about eating contribute to the perfection of our nature.” Leon Kass, The Hungry Soul Saying ‘goodbye’ to...

read more
Another Gift in Suffering

Another Gift in Suffering

“Through pain I’ve learned To comfort suffering men.” Virgil, The Aeneid (Dido to Aeneas) The incomparable Virgil once again gives us words through which to see our own life. There is a reason that in Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy Virgil acts as a guide....

read more

Pin It on Pinterest