Stories are important. Some stories are really important. I’d like to illustrate:
About 20 years ago there was a great federally funded “Drug Free Schools” program in public schools. I ran weekly support groups with 15 teenagers per group. We used curriculum developed by Rainbow Days which is based upon so-called psychological resilience – something we all have to varying degrees.
I especially remember this one student I’ll call “Joy.” During one of our group discussions, she told us how the night before our group met her younger brother got mad, took the keys to their car, and smashed it into their house. One time or another, one or the other in this large family would hide the car keys so Dad couldn’t drive away to get drunk. Her tone was utterly matter- of-fact. There was something special about her determination – an unexpected calm, a deep, quiet resolve.
Several years later I was visiting another school in another program and ran into a Special Ed teacher who knew Joy. We’d talked about her. By now this teacher had become Vice Principal. It was purely coincidental how I ran into him in the hall outside his office. I asked about Joy. With a big smile, he explained she was graduating that year and had won a scholarship to a local college.
Bear in mind that the barrio where Joy grew up was riddled with gangbangers, drive-by shootings, and moms and dads who’d argue it was wrong to leave the barrio. Who should go to school anyway, let alone college!
Stories like this do get out, right?
Once in a while we hear or read about them. We are all grateful of course. But there are other stories – just as important, sometimes even more dramatic and heroic – which don’t get out.
These are stories I hear all the time: folks with huge odds against them where terrible things happened; yet out of their suffering was born a new life. Seldom do they tell their stories despite the fact that many have been extraordinarily resilient.
So here’s my invitation to those who have stories to tell and want to tell them. We’re willing to help you share what you want to say or need to say, that something which helps others just as it helps you. Do you have a story?