My favorite person in the whole world is my Grampa Bud. His real name was Francis Hess but everyone in the neighborhood called him Bud because he was that person on the block that always made you laugh, had a great story or had time to help out a friend – also, the name Francis did not fit his personality very well….. He was one of those larger than life characters that you would see in a movie from the 40’s or 50’s – a tough guy that swung steel hammers during WWII but managed to fit in the time to support 4 kids and a wife.
I remember when I was a kid (early 80’s), he would tell me, my sister and my cousins stories about his travels and life but the best were the stories about the monsters in the attic. He would get us so riled up and scared that at some point my mother would have to step in because we were practically in tears. Of course, when you are young you are more open to belive stories that adults tell you because you trust that what they are saying is true – how could there not be a monster living in the attic? that place is definately dark enough and cold enough to support the lifestyle of a monster – it smells like there is a monster living up there – and something about going up the creeky old steps leads me to belive that yes, in fact what Grampa Bud says is true – there is a monster living in the attic!
So one day me, my sister and my 2 cousins decided to find out for sure. We informed Bud that we were going up in the attic to check it out – we had been hearing about it long enough to know that there was a pretty good chance that we were not going to make it back downstairs. The 4 of us crept up the stairs to the 2nd floor landing and kind of hung out around the door to collect ourselves before we went further. The door was noisy when it opened and you could immediately feel the coldness of the floor as we started up the steps. The attic was divided into 2 areas as one side was a bedroom and the other side was a walled off, dark, dank closet. We opened that door and it was pitch black inside. The light was connected to a hanging cord about 10 feet into the room so we had to tread carefully before we made it to the safety of illumination. A few steps into the room and we noticed some rustling and we stopped dead in our tracks – we were toast – from behind the boxes popped out a horrible figure with a disfigured mask, making all kinds of terrifyine noises. Our reaction was something out of a cartoon where we were all falling over each other in a mad sramble get away from the monster and back to safety. By the time we got downstairs, there was my Grampa sitting in the kitchen – that sealed it, his stories were true, we just witnessed the monster and it was obviousley not my Grampa as he was in front of us – of course, we had no idea there was a second stairwell to the attic let alone the fact that my Grampa would trick us like that!
The point being is that Storytelling can be a powerful tool that can draw people in and create a reality that may not even exist and how social service agencies use this tool will relate directly to their ability engage clients and supporters. As Mike Margolis, founder and president of Get Storied notes, “Tell a story that people can identify with as their own, and the need to persuade, convince, or sell them on anything disappears”. This speaks to me as I have the desire to enter politics and biggest question I have, is how do I get people to follow me, to believe in me and to work for me? I think that answer is simple, it’s more than messaging, it’s storytelling….
I like this story – what is your story and how do you plan on telling it?
And – I always meant to go to this – just missed it this past weekend….maybe next year!