Sarah’s Snippets 8/10/2015
Have you noticed as people age, they tell more stories? Obviously these people have accumulated more life experiences and therefore have more to tell. However, it seems much deeper than that. Over time one’s experiences begin to weave together into patterns. With some reflection on these experiences, the patterns can be recognized and acknowledged, then utilized to improve the quality of life choices. As this process repeats itself over and over through the years, one realizes the power of stories, the power of learning from one’s own stories and experiences.
That inward reflection is only part of the story because we function in relation to other people. Having been created as social creatures, our most meaningful experiences come from the interactions with others and what we exchange with them in the process. Our stories are a compilation of our life experiences, interactions, and choices. When sufficient reflection is added, wisdom is the result.
Are stories important to anyone except the person who has experienced them? Certainly others can learn from the retelling of our stories. And stories can be very entertaining. Stories also become the golden threads that connect the past to the present and the present to the future. It is through the sharing of stories that values are passed along, that dreams are shared, that others are encouraged, and that people become connected.
Personal stories also become entwined with an organization to create a tapestry within. These story tapestries are important to the organization in the same way personal experiences are important to the individual. When the organization is working to create positive changes for a community these stories become critical. They not only pass along values, but also visions. As organizational stories become linked and shared, they create credibility for the organization among its base. The strength that comes from this credibility, along with a vision for improving the whole, leads to adoption of that vision by everyone it will affect. Some would call this a movement.
“Movements have narratives. They tell stories, because they are not just about rearranging economics and politics. They also rearrange meaning. And they’re not just about redistributing the goods. They’re about figuring out what is good.”
— Marshall Ganz
SALT has led the recovery and renewal process with a vision of “what is good” in Schoharie County. That process includes rearranging some of the past standards because we have learned from our community’s stories. The wisdom that has been gained from these stories has opened the door to a greater vision, a vision of more ways to live into the potential that surrounds us in this county. Therefore, we will continue working to create more positive stories of recovery, of renewal, and of a meaningful future for all.