Friday, September 2, 2011

Defining Moments

In the original “Star Wars,” when Luke realizes Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru have been killed, he moves forward with a much different future than he had envisioned. In that moment his life is changed -- forever.  What makes story such a powerful means of communication?  Compelling stories work their way past our minds into our hearts. They communicate a type of character to which we are drawn or from which we are driven -- based upon our values.  That character is revealed in defining moments like the one Luke faced. Defining moments spark an instant paradigm shift. However, I suspect for most of us our defining moments are less dramatic, but no less important. The right story at the right time can alter the trajectory of our lives. 

The story God writes in our hearts and lives often marks the intersection of adventure and wisdom, of daring and commitment.  My desire is to help people identify these stories and pass them on to a growing generation who does not believe in their hearts Beaver’s description of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia,
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”
I want to tell stories in a way that moves beyond one’s mind and reaches the heart. Meeting the King is a defining moment for anyone. Using the power of story to communicate the character of God and His influence in our lives marks a defining moment for all of us. What are the defining moments in your life? How did it change you? Leave a comment below and let’s build a community powered by our own stories.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everybody has a Story!

One of the most memorable scenes in the movie Pretty Woman was that of a man walking down the street asking each person he saw and nobody in particular, "What's your dream?" Something about the way he says it, though, makes you wonder, "What's my dream?" I don't know if everybody has a dream, but I know everybody has a story!

CBS reporter Steve Hartmen believed that too, and in 1998 he set out to prove it. To find a story, Hartman would toss a dart over his shoulder at a map of the United States, and then travel with his cameraman, Les Rose, to wherever the dart landed. Upon arrival, he would find a phone booth with a phonebook, and then, after choosing a name at random, would call that person, hoping to tell their "story." He produced more than 100 episodes of the award-winning series, and his adventures took him around the country. And while each episode was a testament to Hartman's talent as a storyteller, he first had to have a story to tell. An that came from the people he met. Each episode I saw was fascinating; Steve Hartman proved everybody has a story!

Everybody's got a story! What's your story?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Story Sherpa . . . Really? What's with that?

Hi! Welcome to Story Sherpa, the blog created to examine Story and stories! This funny name is fairly easy to explain. In the reading I have done about mountain climbing in the Himalayas, the guys who did all the heavy lifting were the Sherpas. Reading accounts from Edmund Hillary's climb to Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Sherpas helped explorers reach heights of which they had only dreamed.

I hope to use this blog as a forum to examine stories and the power of story in our lives and businesses. I want to help you find and tell your story, a story with purpose. I don't know exactly the shape it will take, but I look forward to the conversation and to building a community that seeks to find and polish their own stories.

Besides, everybody loves a story, right?

Monday, June 6, 2011

June is National Audiobook Month! Press Play!

I love to read! Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, websites — you name it, and I enjoy reading it! I taught literature in schools for 18 years, and in that time I observed a growing trend. My college-prep students came to me with low-level reading abilities. I don’t mean to say they could not read; on the contrary, they could read. They just could not read well.

Reading is its own field, and I do not pretend to be a reading expert, but the major problem my students’ experienced was one of fluency. Reading fluency includes both the speed of reading, and the ability to read with expression. My students could read the words on the page, but the vast majority of them  were unable to read with expression. As we struggled to listen to one read aloud one day in class, it dawned on me the reason they hated reading so much was that it bored them. Not the subject matter, but their listening to themselves reading in their own heads. Unable to read with any expression or effectively follow a written conversation, my students were boring themselves to death and didn’t realize it.

I knew they needed to have good reading modeled for them. I tried to read to them at times and they enjoyed the process, but I couldn’t go home with each one. That’s when I turned to audiobooks. Using audiobooks, students could follow along with a good reader. Over the years I noticed some students demonstrate marked improvement in their reading fluency, but that wasn’t the most interesting thing observed. Many students related to me they just enjoyed listening to the story. The narrator made it more interesting than they thought they could.

I began to listen to a few audiobooks to pass the time while on long car trips, but the more I listened, the more I was hooked. Now, I listen to both fiction and non-fiction, and it is rare you do not find me listening to an audiobook if I'm driving down the road.

I love audiobooks! If you haven't tried one, take a chance and do something different. You could have your own story time -- with your favorite authors! In honor of National Audiobook Month, go on down to your nearest library and pick up an audiobook. It just might change the way you read!

On His Adventure,