Usually, the case for growth is more empirical. We must undergo a life-changing experience before understanding ourselves and altering how we perceive the world. No amount of cautionary tales will keep us from entrusting our hearts too soon to those who don’t deserve them or from not organizing our finances or from not living every day as our last, and the like. Words alone usually fall short.
But sometimes, there are words arranged within stories that are powerful enough to convey an experience so heavy with the truth of humanity that they persuade us to examine ourselves. Stories like these weave themselves into our own story—becoming part of who we are, though they may have happened to someone else.
Though these stories may cover things that we will never experience in our own lives, their sharing stirs our emotions and initiates our greater understanding of the world beyond ourselves. They may even fuel our goals, just as the countless stories of those in desperation fuel a cause.
They are forces of change that may not completely alter behavior, but definitely steer people in the right direction.
These stories are gifts.
Stories enrich our lives and come to our aid when facing personal obstacles. They may not be true experience, but they are enough to teach right from wrong, compassion, leadership, and problem-solving skills.
The best part is that we all have a story, a gift, to share with the world. We all have a story within us that can travel beyond our social reach, something path-turning and path-forging for others. And each story deserves an audience, just as each person deserves love and to be recognized as an individual.
Sadly, we see everyday that there are stories out there, as inspiring as they may one day become, that simply should not be in today’s society. On every street corner, there are those whose stories remind us of how easily our stories as we know them can take nightmarish turns, how our basic needs, such as food, shelter, and love, can be stripped away. In order to complete our stories, we at KNO believe that everyone deserves a happy ending, and the most inspiring stories of hardship are those that end in a message of hope and love.
Within our stories rest the seeds not only for change-making and world-shaping, but also for understanding who we are as individuals and where our strengths lie. They are the keys to figuring out who we are and what we were meant to do as a positive force in the world.
Here at KNO, we believe everyone deserves a chance to make their life story as they wish it to be, and sometimes the most basic step in helping someone achieve this is making sure they have a place to call home. We want to help people to create, share, and listen to stories, because we think this is the best way to compel people to help out in the community, ensuring that everyone attains their basic rights to love and shelter.
Think of the stories that have enriched you and where they came from, as unlikely as the source may be. Think of the gifts you have received and the gifts you can give—and who you can best give them to.
About the author: Drisana is the KNO Communications Associate for Summer 2012. She studies Literature at Yale University.