Maya Angelou has said there is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. In her book Writing to Change the World, Mary Piper describes the importance of sharing our stories:
Stories are the most basic tool for connecting us to one another. Research shows that story telling not only engages all the senses, it triggers activity on both the left and the right sides of the brain. Because stories elicit whole brain/whole body responses, they are far more likely than other kinds of writing to evoke strong emotions. People attend, remember, and are transformed by stories, which are meaning-filled units of ideas, the verbal equivalent of mother’s milk. Healthy cultures pass on healthy stories from generation to generation.
By passing on stories within our families, we can help create the “healthy culture.” Children (and adults, too) need to know that they are connected. We need to know we are connected to each other, to the Earth, to what has come before and what will come after. Stories help us say, “Oh, yes, I have been there, too,”or empathize, “Wow, that must have been hard for you.” It doesn’t matter whether or not we all have the same stories. What matters is that we all have stories to tell.