In today’s digital world of the 10-second attention span, storytelling is more important than ever.
I look at my 16 year-old son. He is brilliant – sometimes I wonder if someone else is his father because I don’t know how or where he gets his genius. But he has the attention span of a gnat. I found him in his room tonight playing an NHL video game (see: http://www.ebgames.ca/xbox-360/games/nhl-13/312720) , texting (see: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/01/18/263485395/still-texting-omg-thats-already-so-old-school ), running videos about gaming on his iPhone (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXHEQ_3dF4o ), and Facebooking on his mother’s laptop (https://www.facebook.com/).
This lack of focus in the younger generation makes storytelling all the more important. With so many distractions, you need to have a gripping message. I also think storytelling is important because there is a tradition of storytelling in every culture. People are comforted by a good story. It brings back memories we should all have from childhood – of that bedtime story curled up in an easy chair with mom or dad.
The content of a great post must bring the human struggle into play and the content of the story must always distill those kernels of the human experience – morals – from which we all can learn. For my job working for a school board, I will tell stories about events such as the high school fundraiser to generate money to honour the memory of a much-loved student (see: http://www.recorder.ca/2013/10/17/campaign-aims-to-honour-aaron ), teaching the value of caring. I will tell stories about students’ reactions to the first-person stories of Auschwitz survivors, teaching them that the human soul can rise above hate (see: http://www.ucdsb.on.ca/UCDSBNEWS/20132014/NOVEMBER/Pages/OlssonSpeakstoCCVSStudents-12112013.aspx). I will tell stories of football players who have won scholarships to Division 1 US colleges http://www.recorder.ca/2012/02/07/corney-gets-call-for-division-1-football ) teaching the value of hard work.
The human factor is key.