Although various iterations of Jorge Méndez Blake’s art exhibit have been installed since 2007 in countries like Mexico, France, Turkey and the United States, this has gone virtually viral in the last several weeks. Colloquially, the exhibit is titled “The Impact of a Book,” and it explores, according to the artist, “How a small thing can transform a very large thing.” It may just be another book in the wall, but it’s also a great metaphor for the power of literature to move us.
There is a reason that Steve Jobs was such a great presenter—he knew how to tell a story. His commencement speech, in which he told, “three stories from (his) life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories,” has been viewed on YouTube more than 23 million times.
Want to know how to absolutely kill it at your TED-Talk? Tell a story. What? You’re not prepping a TED talk? OK. But the next time you’re asked in a job interview to talk about yourself, you’ll be telling a story. In a world of technology and distraction, business trainers have figured out that the way to cut through the noise and build connection with customers is through storytelling.
As humans, we thrive on connection. As Brené Brown says, “We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
Telling stories gives us those connections. From folktales handed down through centuries, to Grandpa’s classic yarn that delights us at family reunions, we thrive on sharing narratives. Researchers tell us, in fact, that our brains’ mirror neurons (the neurons responsible for our feelings of empathy towards others), light up when we’re reading fiction stories. We are drawn to narratives of all kinds.
For these reasons, and many more, we take a moment in Kindermusik to gather around and listen to a book. It is magical to watch the children in story time- whether discovering a book for the first time, or exploring the book in different ways as we read a story again. They may get to practice some fun new words, explore emotions, move like the animal in the story or even “visit” a new place. What a wonderful way to develop the imagination and encourage a life-long love for learning! As we listen and absorb these books, we learn how to express our own stories.
And what stories we have to share!