The Gift of Storytelling

georgehorseHave you ever wondered what it would be like to ride along with a famous person like George Washington in real time and experience events as they really happened?

Confession: I am a history nut and genealogy freak. When I learned that Elizabeth French Dulany (maiden name Elizabeth French) gave Washington his “Blueskin” horse I wondered what it would be like to ride along too.

Wouldn’t it be endlessly thrilling and enriching?

The longer I studied the notion of piggy backing with GW, the more I thought it wouldn’t be so much fun after all. If you are looking for a thrill a minute; like an amusement ride, riding along with George Washington would likely be a huge disappointment. Please, take no offense George, it not you or the horses fault. I just like the story better.

In real time, sure you would see glimpses of Washington’s greatness but you are just as likely to see some of his weaknesses and humanness. It’s my belief that most of the time he wouldn’t seem much different than you or I. Sorry to burst you bubble but it’s true.

Only through the greatness of storytelling is his life riveting. Story telling takes out all of the mundane, unflattering and negative things, things that happen in everyone’s life.

Not convinced? Ask yourself these questions:

• How long would you watch him in adoration; chop wood in his childhood?
• What would you think of him when he displayed self-doubt and pessimism in the middle of the Revolutionary war?
• Would you hold him in such high esteem when you witnessed him whip one of his slaves at Mount Vernon?

If you saw these things you  would become; bored, disappointed and likely angry with the “father of our country”. The good news is, thanks to the goodness for storytelling (i.e., selective editing) nearly everyone likes and admires George Washington. The story has been written that way.

Human beings love stories. We have been telling them and writing them on cave walls since our beginning. Communication via storytelling in all of its derivative forms (i.e., learning, faith, culture) is what makes us different than other forms of life.

Humans really don’t become human beings until they hear their first “good” story. Children are told stories at night to comfort them in the dark and to give them “material” to dream about. Stories are the real super-heroes in our lives.

But stories and their effect on us are all powerful and everywhere. The story we tell ourselves determines; whom we will marry, our occupation and where we live. A story we hear and like is behind every purchase we make.

It’s seems to me that success as we know it (people agreeing with us, liking us and buying our stuff) is more of a function of successful story telling than anything else.

That’s why for Christmas I want to give you the gift of story-telling. Merry Christmas!

After all, if Charles Dickens didn’t write the story “A Christmas Carol” there would be no “Merry” in Christmas. See Nor would the Story of Jesus become the “Greatest Story Ever Told”.

Hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Stories like gifts are often more rewarding to give then to receive.

Now go tell a good story, it’s what life is all about!

Merry Christmas,


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