The Power of Stories
Last week I shared HERE about the powerful stories that can be told as ornaments are hung on our Christmas trees, serving somewhat like Jordan stones…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What does the stone mean to you?’ then we can tell them the story. (Jordan 4:1-3,6-7) As it turns out, positive stories serve as a powerful glue for all families. In a textbook I use, Family stories are narrative accounts shared repeatedly within a family that retell historical events and are meant to bond the family together.* It’s been a tough year for all of us, but also a year we are less inclined to take our time together for granted.
Let’s not forget to tell stories.
As I hung this frog ornament on the tree a few weeks ago, I smiled and sent a text to my husband and oldest daughter: This serves as documentation that the frog thing has been going on for a decade. I thought I would share one of our “glue” stories, which means a story that sheds family members in a positive light and connects to a value, belief or character trait the family is proud to be associated with.
When our daughter was in college (I call her E), she lived in our basement apartment. Her bedroom window was beside a koi pond that had a waterfall. The soothing sound of running water acted as a natural white noise machine to lull her to sleep each night.
Until the bullfrogs moved in.
My husband and I were in our master bedroom on the second floor one night when we first heard a bullfrog croak. We laughed at the thought of our new resident down there in the dark of night letting his presence made known.
And then more bullfrogs moved in.
Our single bullfrog must have been inviting others with his first lonely croaks because soon we had a cacophony of croaks emanating from our fish pond each night. We started to make jokes about our frogs. My husband even wrote a bullfrog sonnet and posted it on our refrigerator one morning. His poetry made us giggle. (I wish I still had that sonnet.)
Then the bullfrogs stopped.
My husband and I were in the kitchen one morning sipping our coffee, commenting that the bullfrogs had left suddenly. We were considering whether they had been eaten by a hawk or migrated to another pond when E casually said from the kitchen table, “I got rid of them.”
We froze in place.
She continued: They were bothering me so I went out one night and drove them down the road to that neighborhood with a large pond and released them.
To this day, her daddy and her exchange frog gifts on holidays and birthdays. Each has quite the collection now. Here is a picture of her computer monitor she sent us while doing an assignment for her first graduate course this year.
I still can’t get over what it took for her to go outside in the pitch dark (scary), grab large bullfrogs (slimy), load them in her car while keeping the hopping creatures contained, and then release them down the road at a pond with sloped sides and zero lighting. She really didn’t like those frogs!
This story has been told over and over, first between us and now to her children too. We like thinking of our family as a collection of brave, industrious, humanitarian, problem-solving people. This story is not just about the heroine. The value of any good story is the family can gather around it and be proud.
What are your stories?
God asks us to tell the stories about His goodness in cases like the Jordan stones (Jordan 1) and speak often of His laws in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, but there is great value in also telling the stories about the life God has allowed us to live. Stories strengthen relationships within the family God has called each of us to love and serve. Don’t forget to tell your family “glue” stories this Christmas season. They are more important to your family line than you may think.
Picture Explanation: Some of the collection of frogs between father and daughter, between her house and ours.
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*McCornack, Steven, Interpersonal Communication and You: An Introduction, Beford/St. Martin’s, 2015