January 12, 2007

I Have an Idea

Here's my idea:

I'm a college counselor, and I want to work story-telling into my day job.

I love stories. The older I get, the more convinced I become that my stories and I are in a constant dialogue of creation.

As I talk with students about their hopes and dreams for the next chapter in their life, I know the most important thing is for me to listen. If you know me, you know I'm a pretty good talker. The listening is work for me. I welcome the practice, and I am grateful to my students for all that they teach me every year.

Now what I'd like to do, as inspired by Patti Digh and others, is deepen my students' and my understanding of how the stories we tell affect our reality.

If you have any thoughts or advice about my idea, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

I'm listening.

(And thank you to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.)

11 comments:

Bongga Mom said...

That is a great idea, you go girl!

Brian said...

My idea would to let the students tell a story about how they wound up being in your office. What journey did they make, even if it was just across the quad.

Then I would tell a story about quantum foam, and how every millisecond has a near infinite fan of possibilities to choose from. A story of how the future exists in many paths for all of us.

Cate said...

I love your idea! I, too, am a better talker than listener, but even so, the stories that I tell myself are not always accurately and definitely affect my perceptions and reality. Your idea is such a beneficial one--can't wait to hear how it works out!

paris parfait said...

Sounds like a great idea! Go for it.

Frances said...

You could turn that idea into a workshop, and turn the results of the workshop into a book, which could be used to teach a course...
Your idea gave me ideas!
Thanks for sharing,
Frances

daffa said...

a couple of excellent ideas there...

you've insired me to write my life in stories... or at least the list ;)

i believe there's a fairly substantial list in my head already...

thankyou!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

That's a bit of Synchronicity. I've been thinking about storytelling a lot recently and am just starting to look at similar questions to yours. Deborah Morgan of Writing Out Loud seems to have some good ideas too - http://writingoutloud.ca/ though more for writing specifically than for storytelling as such. Good luck with your work!

DJPare said...

Nice idea.

Maybe you could ask your students to tell you what their ideal story would be about their own immediate future. And then as the counselor, you can help them write it into reality. :)

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

Have them tell you the story of their ideal life 10 years from the point that they are sitting in your office. Where they see themselves living, what they see themselves doing, etc. Only by such visualizations can be actually formulate goals and then set a plan in motion to achieve them. You could have them change the hypothetical, too. Tell them to close their eyes, see themselves doing what they just described & then change some of the details to see how they react to those changes, how they feel then, etc. Could be a fun exercise!

Shelley said...

Thank you, everyone, for your excellent support, feedback, and ideas.

I love how talking about something as if you're going to do it (with supportive listeners, to boot) makes it all seem that much more real.

Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

Our stories create us as much as we create our stories, and therefore, our and others' reality. If that's true, then others' stories also influence our reality. There is a wonderful activity called Group Storytelling where you begin with a bunch of everyday objects - a pencil, crayons, CD, stuffed animal, dollar bill, etc. Each individual in the group chooses an object she or he relates to. Then, once all have chosen, everyone tells why that object has meaning for them - the story of what that object represents. These stories can be literal or symbolic. Once everyone has shared, the group goes around again and shares another story related to their chosen objects, but this time everyone weaves their stories together by sharing some meaning, new insight or experience that relates to that group in some way. The group story can be fun and funny or thoughtful and deep, or both.

This is a group activity, but can easily be modified for a one-on-one situation...use fewer objects, and as the counselor, ask good open-ended questions! Hope this is helpful. Good idea and good luck!