We all have stories and they can be amazing teaching tools. However, at another level, these stories need to be documented. Irish culture is well-known for its storytelling as an art form. However, there comes a point where documenting stories develops the narrative itself into a workable framework where in each piece the story can be placed in a historical context. At that point, moral lessons can be preserved, based upon historical facts. This takes the story beyond storytelling, and serves a different purpose. So why do this?
Lies, Truth and Agendas in Stories
When storytelling is not understood as myth, the “facts” presented can often lead to erroneous and harmful conclusions. This is where lies are passed off as truths. While almost everyone accepts that institutions and governments do this on a regular basis; we sometimes forget families also have agendas. Erroneous stories are passed off to justify prejudice, hatred, social status, repression, religious and political agendas, or simply to keep a family member in check. To say erroneous facts can be dangerous is an understatement. Just think of the harm nineteenth century stereotypes about the Irish caused our ancestors.
Family agendas often cover up a wide range of sins. By doing so the status quo is kept intact, reputations preserved and healing never occurs. The paper trail releases the secrecy and allows the flow of what really happened to be unveiled.
Documentation Brings Context to a Story
It is important to take your stories and piece by piece document them. That will not only provide the truth of your family history, but it will also open up new lessons at deeper levels to pass down. For the difference between storytelling and documenting your story, please see my blog “Storytelling as an Art.”
If you would like to document your stories Contact Us.