“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” – Robert McAfee Brown

Even with his bow tie in place and his blue chambray shirt and jacket, he looked rumpled. 50 years later, I can still hear the sound of creaking wooden floors as he wandered between the desks, making American History come alive for me in that mid-western college classroom.

I don’t remember the date of every battle but I can tell you what the soldiers ate for dinner, how poorly they slept and what little breakfast was available before the fighting began at sunrise.

I am still moved by how a soldier would ask someone to write his folks back home to tell them how much he loved them … then sign the letter with his simple “X”.

These details, along with the weather when the treaty was signed, what the women wore to church, proper procedure for courtship – all gave the events a lasting spot in my mind and are a part of who I am today.

And like all great teachers, the disheveled Dr. Parish was a storyteller. On the first day of each semester he gave us the rules. “You can buy the text, even read it if you want, but the exam questions will be from my lectures – attend class, take notes, and you will have all you need for a good grade.”

Westminster College, Fulton, MO. 1959-1963
Westminster College, Fulton, MO. 1959-1963

Everyone hopes to find at least one teacher who kindles the fire of learning. For me, it was Dr. William E. Parrish, Westminster College, 1955-1996. I took every class he offered.

When I look back over my life I realize that my best teachers, co-workers and bosses have been storytellers. They knew how to get my attention and left me with something to ponder.

I don’t want to lose storytellers or storytelling; it, “…is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” Robert McAfee Brown is right.

How you can join the fun

A writer friend tells me that there is no story without a listener. If true, and I think it is, then ‘thank you’ for being my listener. Now, I want to do something for you. I want to be your listener.

Join the conversation, here on this website. Tell the story of the teacher, or boss, or friend, who woke you up – flipped the switch – turned on your power. Who they were, when it happen…? Tell me all about it.

Make the choice to share your story and have your past come alive as mine is doing for me in these stories.

This will be fun and easy to get started. Just go to “Leave a Reply” below and start. Or, if you’re shy, you can go to “Contact Me” and send me a private message.

Maybe you share your story with your family and friends … that makes this whole journey better.

Today, more than ever, I close with, “As always, the conversation starts here.”

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran


If you are like me and need advice on writing short stories; watch and listen to what Kurt Vonnegut shares: