By some odd coincidence, two of my classes right now are covering basically the same material. The only difference is, one professor chose to have us read an informational article about the topic, and the other chose to have us read a memoir. The difference was … incredible. When I sat down with a small group to discuss the article, I had to look it over again to even remember what the argument had been; when I sat down to talk about the memoir, I couldn’t stop talking, and I don’t think I opened the book even once. The memoir worked its way into my imagination and through there into my heart. I’ve found myself mulling over stories the author told in a way I don’t do after reading an article.
There’s something so powerful about stories. They seize our imaginations and our hearts; they teach us at a visceral level that recitations of ideas or facts can’t even get close to; they show us what an idea means and introduce us to new ideas. Stories engage our whole being.
People talk about learning styles: visual learning, verbal learning, social learning, and so on. I’ve always struggled to place myself in any particual camp (or even a few). But, sitting in class talking about that article, something clicked. I learn through stories. That’s the deepest, truest way I learn. I’m that person who always wants to tell people, “I read a book about that!” (I don’t; I doubt anyone finds that comforting or helpful) But stories work their way into my heart and change me.
Stories are my heart language, my learning style. I dream of giving life to stories, of sharing their joy with others. Stories are life-giving, and I want to give.