For thousands of years, storytelling has been one of the most important arts in every culture. Stories passed down from generation to generation teach us what to value and how to treat each other. Lately, many people have noticed with deep regret that the art of storytelling is being lost in our modern culture. People try to connect through technology but feel more isolated than ever.
So, let us use the connecting power of technology to breathe new life into one of the most important community-building practices of all time. Read these short stories, and learn from them, then teach them to the people around you.
A Father And His Son
An elderly woman boarded a train, as she usually did every day. After a few stops, she noticed a father and his adult son, who looked like he was well into his 20’s, board the train. They took their seats across the aisle from her.
Soon, the son started talking loudly to his father, telling him about the clouds that he saw outside and the buildings and trees the train was passing by. The father listened to him, and nodded encouragingly.
After a while, the elderly woman got annoyed by how loud the young man was speaking, and said to his father, “Excuse me, sir, but have you considered taking him to a special doctor?”
The father smiled at her, and replied: “Actually, we’re just coming back from the doctor. You see, my son has been blind since birth, and this is the first day he’s ever been able to see.”
This story reminds us all to never take anything for granted, and never assume we know someone else’s story.
The Donkey and the Hole
There was a farmer who owned a large plot of land. In fact, it was so big, he had never explored all of it before. One day, he decided to take his only donkey with him and see his land for himself.
Unfortunately, within 3 hours of setting off, his donkey fell into a massive hole in the ground! The farmer was in despair, for it was impossible to hoist the donkey out. He felt pity for it, and didn’t wish for it to starve to death, so he resolved to bury it alive and put it out of its misery.
But with every shovelful of dirt that the farmer threw into the hole, the donkey shook the dirt off its back and stomped on top of it. This continued for quite some time, and after 3 days, the donkey had shaken off and stomped on so much dirt, that he was able to jump right out of the hole!
This story teaches us how to handle problems and criticism. When others want to write us off, we can “shake it off” and learn from it.
The Elephant Parade
Once upon a time, there was a performer who owned 10 elephants. He paraded them all over the world, and made them do tricks for many crowds.
One day, a boy asked the performer how he controlled his elephants, since they were only tied together with a small rope on one foot.
The performer replied, “I’ve had these elephants since they were very young. When I tied their feet with that very rope, it was enough to hold them back from running away. So, they learned at a young age that they couldn’t break the rope.
Now that they’re older, they still believe that it’s stronger than they are, and so they never even try to run away.”
This story challenges us to keep pushing. You’ll never know what limitations are only imagined until you try to surpass them.
The Parable of the Egg, the Potato, and the Coffee Bean
Whenever you’re going through a difficult season in your life, remember this parable.
If you put an egg in a pot of boiling water, after a few minutes, what was once soft and runny will become hard. If you put a potato in a pot of boiling water, what was once strong and tough becomes mushy.
Finally, if you put coffee beans in a pot of boiling water, within a few minutes, you’ll start to smell a wonderful aroma and the flavor of the bean will change the flavor of the water.
Each of these 3 things were placed into the same environment, but they produced different results. Likewise, no one has control over their life circumstances, but they can control how they respond to those circumstances.
You can become hard and jaded like the egg; weak like the potato; or better like the coffee- and make everything around you better, too.
The Little Boy and the Waitress
One day, a young boy went to a restaurant to order some ice cream. He was all by himself, and the waitress was so busy with her other tables, that she put off serving him for quite some time. Finally, when she came by to take his order, he asked her how much a chocolate fudge sundae is.
“That’s $5,” she said.
“Ok, and what about just a regular bowl of ice cream?” he asked her.
“That’s only $2, ” she replied. The boy ordered the plain ice cream, and the waitress walked away, thinking to herself about all the other tables she had to serve. The boy enjoyed his ice cream, went to the counter to pay, and left the restaurant.
But when the waitress returned to the table to clean up after him, she saw that he had left a $3 tip, and started crying when she realized he had sacrificed getting the better sundae so he could afford to leave her the rest.
This story teaches us the value of sacrifice and respect.
Which of these stories was your favorite? Are there any short stories that were passed down to you that you’d like to share with others?