Amanda D’Annucci writes, “Stories can heal, stories can teach, stories can inspire, stories can enlighten, and stories can resolve.” With these words, she captures the power of storytelling perfectly. By using fMRIs, she has also proved that stories can fully engage a listener’s brain. Stories flood our minds. 

David Christian, the founder of the Big History project, makes the most compelling case for the value of stories in human culture and adaptation. He states, “Before the gift of language the information gathered in a lifetime died with the person acquiring it. Once we could speak, however, stories began passing on the wisdom and collective learning began.” 

Stories and storytelling exist in all cultures without exception. We humans invented writing six thousand years ago, and I would imagine oral storytelling predates writing by at least a million years beginning when Homo sapiens began to use spoken language. 

Why? Because storytelling is one of our hardwired Hybrid Skills.

Our amazing ability to co-operate flexibly in exceptionally large numbers has clearly been a key driver that took our species from just one of many species of hominins and great apes to apex predator. It has been called our singular adaptation. 

Noah Yuval Hariri has credibly claimed that our ability to perform massive and flexible co-operative tasks is based on storytelling. Shared stories enable us to work as a team. In fact, we cannot work in teams without a shared story. Hariri claims our minds are story processors as much as logic processors. Stories, he tells us configure our emotions across large groups. Steve Jobs knew that. So do authoritarians. 

Stories are powerful. But children need to know how to decipher their message. And that’s where Infoliteracy comes into play. Encourage your children to not only discover what they believe, but to tell it to others in an engaging manner – a story. It’s in their DNA. 

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Excerpted from my book Hybrid Learning.

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