The origins of storytelling goes back to the beginning of time. Stories were told from generation to generation to hold a collective memory or experience. And not much as changed since then. Stories are a powerful tool in shaping how we connect with others, and how we develop empathy and understanding.
Grace, an adjunct professor at UW-Oshkosh shares with Love Wisconsin about how she taught journalism students storytelling principles through a project called Humans of Oshkosh, but learned a lot more from them.
“I was born in Taiwan and my Dad was a very poor preacher. When I was just a little tot, I remember my dad took my brother and me to the zoo in Taiwan. this was a huge treat for us. We saw something there that day we had never seen before, an American with blonde hair.
We called it ‘yellow’ hair because we didn’t know a word for blonde. To us he was just like a magnificent being. My dad was a very friendly person. He knew a little bit of English, so he said, ‘Hello,’ and smiled big. He said ‘Hi” to us, and he must have told my Dad his name was Jim, but because none of us spoke English, we all thought his name was ‘Hi Jim.’
My dad invited Hi Jim to our village. He said, ‘Come and have dinner with us. My family would love to meet you.’ thinking that that would never happen because it was a long trek. But Hi Jim actually took my dad up on his offer, came up to see us. We had a big feast, and all of the kids were running around saying ‘Hi Jim! Hi Jim! Hi Jim!’ When the evening was over, Hi Jim said to my dad, ‘If you’re ever in America, look me up. ‘My Dad came to American shortly after that to get his master’s degree in divinity in South Carolina. After he graduated, he didn’t have any money.
Read more of Grace’s story, at Love Wisconsin.