Storytelling is more important than you may think.
On September 28th, 2012 the documentary BURN: One Year On The Front Lines Of The Battle To Save Detroit had it’s Detroit Premier. Many Detroit Firefighters have been excited about this since filming started. Why? Because its storytelling at its finest. We want people to know what we do and what we have endured all these years. Like you, we want our stories heard.
Storytelling is a great for helping people understand what it’s like to be a firefighter. Have you considered other ways storytelling can benefit you?
Preserve history traditions and culture
Historically storytelling has been used to pass knowledge from one generation to another. Before there was written language storytelling was the primary means of teaching, entertaining and connecting communities. Realize it or not, it does the same thing today. Even in the facebook and twitter age you tell your stories one post at a time.
Lower your blood pressure and improve your health
Results of a study show that for some people listening to personal stories helped control high blood pressure as significantly as medications. This New York Times article refers to that study and other anecdotal evidence on the health benefits of telling stories.
Help you teach a lesson
A well told story of how things went wrong can drive a lesson home faster than hours of instruction. Storytelling helps you visualize the situation as if you had experienced it. You learn the lesson as if you had made the mistake. A great example of this in the fire service is firefightersnearmiss.com.
Help you connect to others and know you are not alone in your struggles
Sharing your story of personal struggle can help other deal with the same troubles. It makes it “Ok” to talk about and ask for help. A great example is A Father’s Grief, an article by Deputy Chief Pat Kenny of West Springs, Illinois. He talks about the impact of his son’s suicide and how sharing his story helped both himself and his department.
Help you gain support for your cause
Looking for grant money or community support for your department? Tell your story in a way that helps people identify with your cause. People are more likely to give when they hear how their support is going to make a difference in a concrete and personal manner.
Provide you inexpensive entertainment
Ask a firefighter about the funniest call he’s ever been on, or best prank he’s ever pulled and you’ll get stories better than anything you can find on TV. One word of warning – Do this only when you have hours to burn. Once you get some guys going you many not get them to stop. For some great firefighting stories check out retired DFD Captain Robert Haig’s website.
The next time you want to pass on a tradition, teach a lesson, connect with others, gain community support, be healthier or just want cheap entertainment, consider storytelling. You’ll get more out of it than you may know.
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