I received a copy of Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World, written by Nish Weiseth, from netgalley.com for the purpose of generating a review. With the exception of the opening Zig Ziglar quote, italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Zig Ziglar
A friend gave me a card with that quote on it many years ago. I had been a good listener when she needed it. Something about a boy. Long ago and long gone now.
But the quote stuck in my memory. We can’t just go around spouting off dos and don’ts. Even a Bible verse, though it may be just what an individual needs, can be ill-received when shoved down someone’s throat.
People need to know we care. And the best way I have found to show this is through story. Sharing ours. Listening to theirs. Walking side by side.
Author Nish Weiseth has also found this to be true. In her first book, Speak: How Your Story Can Change The World, and on her blog, nishweiseth.com, and on the collaborative blog she created, deeperstory.com, she encourages people to tell their story.
“... I took a leap of faith and created an online space called ‘A Deeper Story,’ inviting some talented story tellers to join me. Our aim was simple: we would use the art of story and personal narrative to address some of the most troublesome topics found on the collision course between Christianity and culture.”
She does this in her new book too. Actually, after sharing parts of her story, she includes excerpts from A Deeper Story. Stories told by other authors. Also comments shared by readers. All of whom have a story.
“The power of story becomes evident when, as we share, another’s eyes light up and they say, ‘You too? Me too!’”
I read articles from A Deeper Story often. In fact, I felt compelled to comment on one twitter feed that I always get something from the stories they share.
On my own blog, the most popular post to date, by far, came from a guest writer. "When Divorce Changes Everything." How humbling. But I realize, while the article was well written, the reason for its popularity comes from more than that. The author shared her story. Raw. The good and bad. Her story of redemption. Readers respond to that.
“To my delight, readers are beginning to understand that we interact over issues best when there’s a human connection.”
In closing, I’d like to share just one story Nish wrote about in her book. At the time, she was a college sophomore. In a small class, philosophy or religion perhaps. They discussed violence and war that day. Gun control. Everyone had their opinion. Based on their belief system. Highly unlikely that a debate using facts or Scripture would change anyone’s mind.
Until Janelle shared her story. About a time an intruder came to her house. And her brother saved her life. Using a gun. In Janelle's words:
“I think we all agree we shouldn’t stand on the side of violence. We should stand for peace. But when it comes to guns and gun control, I feel a little conflicted. It’s hard for me to not be in support of our right to bear arms. My brother’s right to carry and use his weapon was, I believe, the reason I’m still alive today...
It’s never as black-and-white as we want it to be... Especially when someone’s story gets injected into the conversation. All of a sudden, it gets messy. But it’s better if it’s messy, I think.”
According to Nish:
“Janelle’s deeply personal story moved us from finger-pointing to problem solving.”
That’s what the power of a story can do.