Bridging the Generation Gap Through Storytelling

Storytelling is an art, for sure—but it is also a vital means of information sharing. Stories about our past shape the people we are today. In the past, stories may have been passed down because there were few alternatives for entertainment or education. However, today many things are competing for our attention, and thus, it becomes more important than ever to make sure those stories are shared and remembered.

As stories are shared, it is important that they are kept for future generations. You can document these on an audio recording, on video or even through handwritten notes. No matter what you choose, the power of the internet allows us to store these documents in a way that they are safe from fire, flood or theft—something never possible before. However, the first step is to make sure the stories are shared. To encourage the sharing of stories, it becomes vital to bridge the gap between generations.

The Stories Keep Us Connected

It can be difficult for the older generation to try to have a conversation with the younger generation. Kids today are spending screen time at home—and working on computers at school too, so it only makes sense that their attention spans might be a bit shorter than in generations past. However, once you get started with the sharing of stories, you will often see that this is an important means of connection for both the storyteller—and those who are listening.

If you’re looking for the best ways to connect with your loved ones through storytelling, here are a few tips that will make it easier and help you both get the most from it.

  • Ask Questions to Improve Engagement – Put together a list of questions ahead of time so you can keep the story on track. Perhaps if you want to know grandma and grandpa’s story, you would ask questions about their time in school, grandpa’s days in the service, how they met, what grandma did for a living before she married grandpa, and other guided questions. When you have some specific questions ready, you can keep the story flowing.
  • Think Sound Bites – While detailed stories are a lot of fun, think about wrapping up your lessons in a quick sound bite too. That way you can impart your lesson on the younger generation without all the fuss. The best part about these short sound bites is that they open the door for a more detailed story later. Think about Aesop’s Fables—they have a short lesson that they impart, but they also have a great story when there is time for that too.
  • Consider a Multimedia Approach – While you might not be interested in going all out and creating your own multimedia empire, it is easier than ever to record video and audio for your loved ones. Consider sharing your stories on Youtube; it is possible to make these videos private where only the family can view them. Another idea is to add digital photography to bring your audio recordings to life. A digital approach to storytelling is much more likely to garner attention in a world where everyone is already plugged in and turned on to digital media most of the time anyway. Plus, when you utilize these methods you can save your stories for future generations too.
  • Get Social – Those social media websites that are so popular are a great place to tell your story or tell your family’s story. Why not share some old family photos on Instagram or post some of your favorite family recipes on Facebook? The more family members that are connected on social media, the better. It may surprise you how active your family group can get—and how quickly the stories will begin to flow. Once again, these can be made private so that only the family can view the content.
  • Include Other Content – Stories aren’t the only way to reach your loved ones. Share a classic recipe or bring out those cherished family heirlooms. You have important things to share, and there are many events that occurred in your life (or in the lives of your ancestors) that will be forgotten if you don’t share them. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

The older generation has something amazing to share, and it is up to all of us to make sure that it doesn’t become lost. Storytelling is a classy form of entertainment and these are great methods of sharing information with future generations. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with the most important people in your life—and create something that will make an impact for generations to come.