Healing Stories

Telling stories can be a fun activity, but it is also good for you! When we share stories of how we grow up, our parents or extended families, we build up the connections and it helps shape our identity. Telling stories helps us see that we are part of something much larger than ourselves. My father told a lot of stories, and I hated listening to them, but now I wished I had listened a little more closely. My children love hearing stories of my family and can be entertained for hours by them.

So here is a brief, kind of funny story from my childhood:

When I was about 8, I was at the local bar with my father, and he told me to drive home, which was a little over 2 miles away. I was excited, but also afraid. Being that I seldom turned down a challenge I got behind the wheel and drove us home. It was difficult to see out of the windshield because I was not tall enough. My father yelled a few times because I was too close to the edge of the road, but other than that I did great! When we plunged into the driveway my sister saw me drive and started to yell for mom. Well mom wave dad a really hard time for letting me drive, and dad's response was that the farmers' kids can drive so his kids can too!

So what does this story tell me now? It shows my father's independent streak and lack of caring for rules and also how he helped push me into more grown up behavior (fathers often help us learn how to be in the adult world), and I did feel very proud of myself that I could drive us home! My mom was always the more frustrated one and looked out for safety issues- her goal was to keep us safe. The dichotomy of the father and mother's role is evident in this story.

Growing up I was deeply aligned with my mother, but I did not take my mom's side when she was yelling at dad for letting me drive! I liked the risk taking and the challenge, and probably could have used more of it growing up. Being challenged helps us to develop the confidence in our abilities.

So tell a story today- you do not need to "analyze" it, like what I just did with my story, but laugh at the silliness, or cry at the heartbreak you have experienced.

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