In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are five reasons why I think stories are important, and why I’m so very thankful:
Stories are entertaining. Some may say that there’s no real value in entertainment – it’s just a frivolity. While it’s certainly possible to sacrifice your responsibilities and productivity in the name of always seeking to be entertained, entertainment itself is not a bad thing. Entertainment can lower stress and raise happiness. Good stories do that, and I’m thankful.
Stories teach us. Whether it’s a true story or complete fiction, through stories we can learn about the power of the human will, good versus evil, what true love means. Anything can be taught through a story – whether it’s an elusive human value, or facts about history, science, or other cultures.
Stories bring people together. Story time in elementary school brings the whole class together to share in one experience. Uncle Ben’s stories of his wild days as a youth can entertain the whole family around Thanksgiving dinner. A series of stories about a boy wizard and his friends brought people together from every country and walk of life. It’s something all humans have in common – a love of stories.
Stories tell the truth. Yes, even fiction. Especially fiction. Sometimes a story is the best way to bring to light a difficult topic. That’s one of the things that gives well-told fiction a value beyond entertainment; sometimes truths are easier to swallow when told in the guise of a story.
Stories make us think. If a story is teaching you and telling a truth, it’s making you think about something you’d never thought of before. Even a merely “entertaining” story engages your brain as you follow the plot, try to figure out the clues, and fall in love with the characters. Good stories are anything but mindless entertainment.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What are you thankful for?