The moment we hear or read,” Once upon a time…” our attention sharpens, because we know it’s a story being told. Nothing has changed in this wonderful art form since humans first acquired speech. The oral art of storytelling helped pass on values, traditions, myths and beliefs from one generation to another; once writing arrived and books became easily available, storytelling became popular in print. However stories are told, they are an indispensable part of every culture: idealising heroes, enhancing the imagination, and opening minds to undiscovered realms.
Today, storytelling is used as a tool for information in every sector. It’s impossible to inculcate values into the mind of a child, or even grow a young learner’s mind, without storytelling, which means it’s essential in education. Entrepreneurs too use storytelling to set goals, express them explicitly and narrate them in a form that brings new, innovative ideas, a sense of confidence and good self expression. Stories help people communicate better.
Storytelling helps indirectly update knowledge. For instance, in Shashi Despande’s novel ‘The Dark That Holds No Terror’, a woman struggles for her right to higher education and to liberate herself from a suffocating marriage. This way, both men and women understand the need for change better than if they’d been given facts and figures.
A popular form of storytelling called ‘Nukkad Natak’ (Neighbourhood Drama) uses street theatre to spread awareness at a local level on issues such as health, hygiene, and breaking taboos, while being simultaneously entertaining. This dramatic form of storytelling can even engage the audience to participate, which gives it more ability to make an impact.
Storytelling offers insights into situations by universalising an experience and connecting readers / listeners / an audience through a common bond. History is simply storytelling that informs us how civilisation evolved. Religion shows us its basis through stories.
So if you want to ensure change in some area of life, it’s best to do it via a story.