Come Sit A Spell
When I travel, I meet a lot of good people, down home people, and many people will tell stories. Many times it is a way of building bridges and finding commonality, but story telling has been around forever. We hear of people talking about the big hunt, history of the country, family, fire department or what have you, or to teach lessons.
Jesus taught in parables. He would use stories as illustrations on teach at a level or concept that people would understand easier.
Many great teachers use stories to teach. If we are keen enough, we can learn the lesson that someone is teaching us. When I first joined emergency services, I listened to many stories of past incidents, where apparatus were placed, methods that were used, equipment that was used. I remembered them so that when I had a tough situation, I can draw upon the memories of other peoples lessons. I still remember my father telling me of a real bad factory fire. He told me that so much apparatus was there but they encountered a water supply problem. Dad was working with a crew that, I think, had an old military apparatus and they were able to drive it into the loading area, which was flooded. The truck had no problems being is high water so they just put the truck and drafted the water that was coming out of the building and through it back in. After thinking about that situation, I now wonder about if they were in danger of roof or wall collapse.
We have all heard the story of the fishing trip, where the person caught the fish that was this big. The fish started out being eight inches but as it is retold, the fish may end up being two feet long. I think we all know people who embellish stories, just for oneupmanship, you probably can look around your location and find one.
Storytelling is a way that we also help ourselves. I have noticed that I have forgotten some stories that were important to me. Why did that happen? I think my mind can only take in so much and then it may need to purge insignificant information. Sometimes I listen to my father tell the same story for the umpteenth time, where I can probably recite it word for word, but now I realize that it was probably his way of remembering an important event to him.
It seems that, as we sit around, and bond with stories. We may talk about our worst experiences. I have heard so many bad stories from people that I hope that they are not kept up at nights. I was recently talking with a friend who told me about his first bad call, on the fire department, and he started smelling the smell that he was describing to me. Stories are very powerful.
We may repeat stories when we talk with the crisis teams or with a mental health professional or clergy, to help us come to a resolve and help us process what we went through. We also talk with others who have shared the same experience and process the experience as a group.
Let's think about other stories. We read stories to entertain. Story telling has evolved into songs, books, movies, etc. What is your favorite story?
Ok, your assignment should you choose to accept it, start thinking about the funny calls that you were on with emergency services or throughout your life. Think about those stories more than the bad experiences. I am not going to ask you about your worst call. I want you to think about the funny calls, like when on Halloween there was a house fire and all the department fought the fire wearing costumes. Did you experience going around with Santa Claus and then I call came in and people had to explain how come four Santas showed up to the fire and two were wearing SCBA?
Have you ever been interviewing a candidate and in the middle of the interview, your chair just falls apart out from under you?
Take time think of the funny calls. Write down the stories. Share them. If you want to share them with me, I would love it.
Let's see about laughter being the best medicine.