Scott Schimmel 0:20
Well, welcome back to another episode of The YouSchool podcast. My name is Scott Schimmel. I'm the host, president and chief guide of the school. How's that for a mouthful? What I want to talk about today is one of the core skills. I think every parent, coach, teacher, educator, anybody working with kids - anybody working with people - needs to have, and everybody can get it, everybody can grow in it. And it's, I think the most, by far the most effective way to make an impact in a kid's life. And kind of remember the big picture, for the teenage years, kids are primarily trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in this world. Most of the time, they don't do that. Most of the time, kids carry big questions about life and themselves well into adulthood, meanwhile, making important decisions that shape who they are, and where they go in life. And yet, this the big thesis of YouSchool, there is a way to help them grow in self-awareness around their identity, and their purpose, and how to put together relationships at a young age so that they can make better decisions at the right time. The fact is, most kids don't feel connected to the adults in their life. Almost every kid has adults in their life, plenty of them, but most of them don't feel connected to them. And when kids don't feel connected to the adults, the parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, youth, pastors, etc., it's typically a reflection of a few things, it's I think, really just a lack of awareness on the adult part. I put myself to blame here too, I get overwhelmed, I get overworked, I often don't have the time, I've got things to accomplish with kids, I want to get through to do what I want to do. I just kind of they're a means to an end. And I forget the reality that they need me to take initiative to help them connect with me, doesn't happen the other way around. We do not wait for kids to get to know us and feel connected to us, we take the initiative, because we're the adults. What I want to share is this specific skill, and that's this- it's storytelling. You telling personal, relevant, appropriate stories about your life, so that they can feel more connected to you. When kids feel connected to the adults in their life, they do better academically, socially, developmentally, in every single way, when they feel connected to multiple adults. And connection happens when a kid feels like I know who the adult is, what makes them tick, what they care about. I understand where they come from, what journey they're on. I know the adults in my life. And a lot of times the adults to a kid's perspective are just roles to play. They're just figures. They're just people telling them where to go, how fast to get there, what they need to know what time practice is, where's dinner, where's my laundry, they're just figures, not people. So we can take the initiative to share personal stories with kids. And it can make a big, big impact. There's a lot of studies that have been done to share why and how important it is for adults to share stories with kids. Students do better. When teachers share personal stories. Players play more, with more hearts, more resilience, more conviction for coaches who share and open up their personal lives. And kids are more attached in a healthy way to their parents. When the parents are taking initiative to share personal stories. It's on every front. It's something that we can do and you have permission to do it. If you didn't know that before, this is your permission. Okay, why stories? Stories help us connect and help, really, kids connect with us. Stories help kids engage. Maybe you've been in, I encourage you to do this. If you're in a speaking situation, maybe a church or a corporate event, and there's a speaker or you're in a classroom setting. Whenever a story starts, people start paying attention. Otherwise, it's noise, it's words, concepts, ideas. It's bullet points as Bible verses, whatever it is, yada yada yada. And then someone says the other day, and then everyone starts paying attention. You want to learn how to engage with a kid tell a story, you know, inspire your kid to move to see themselves clearly share a story. You want to motivate a kid share a story you want to influence a kid share story. Fancy quotes story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience. kinda like the idea of planting dreams inside of somebody in an idea and that movie Inception with Leo DiCaprio. Stories stick. "Whoever tells the best story wins." - John Quincy Adams. So when you think about maybe when you were growing up or even now, who are the best storytellers, you know? And then how do you compare to them? Storytelling is, is a skill to grow in. And I think it starts with doing a little self assessment. How good are you at telling personal, relevant, engaging stories? Maybe not so good. Maybe you're fantastic. Assess yourself. Where are you at, developmentally? How comfortable? Are you sharing personal stories? How often do you get the chance to or take the opportunity to? How much time do you have to share a story- a 30 seconds or two minutes story with kids? Do you see it as your job? Just be honest? Do you see it as a part of your role to open up and share personally with them? Do you see impact? Do you see fruit from the stories that you shared. A lot of times, telling stories to a kid is something that sticks for years later. It's not necessarily immediate fruit. I don't hear kids come up to me and say because you told me that story about your past, and some life lessons you learned through breakups and heartache in high school. Now I'm realizing right now that I need to break up with my boyfriend because it's not healthy. I don't hear that. I don't hear that. I hear, maybe hear that. If I do, years later- I still remember that story you told about. And it's influenced how I've done life. So you see fruit in it, are you encouraged to do it, maybe you're in an environment where that's just not the norm. We are maybe in a sporting event or sporting League. In a coaching situation, or classroom or school, where it's like, we don't really do that we have AP tests, we have competitions, we have tasks to accomplish, we don't really get encouragement to have a personal relationship with these kids. Storytelling can be grown, you can become a better storyteller, everybody can. And it requires you getting more comfortable with it skilled at it, seeing it as core to your job as a parent or coach and educator, intentionally carving out the time to do it, taking the opportunity and the initiative to do it, and seeing the fruit in it. So what I want to recommend to you is this idea of coming up with your own story library, something that I started to do at least 10 years ago, especially having three kids my own, when at bedtime, they loved to have me wasting time to have me tell them stories, stories about my childhood. And because of those prompts, I would often and I'd still do this, think of a memory and then write that story down. And what it's turned into is what I called my own personal story library. And I happen to use an app on my phone called Evernote, you can do this on Apple notes. You can do this in a journal, anywhere you can find it. But I as I think of memories, and they come up all the time. And if I write them down, I also tag them. So in Evernote, you can tag it like like you would in Instagram or Twitter, tag and say failure story, life lessons, story coming of age story. And I have one story might have multiple tags 2, 3, 4, 5. And then when I'm in a setting later on, whether I'm walking into a class, I'm in the car with one of my kids, if I am going to speak somewhere, I will literally pull that out. Scroll through the different tags. Oh yeah, failure story that I haven't told that in a while. Or to this group of people, or to my own kids. Did I ever tell you about the time, fill in the blank- that got my heart broken, ever tell you about the time I got caught cheating on a math test and got detention, did I ever tell you about the ti me my friend Jeff and I did this crazy adventure and we got in huge trouble. Did I ever tell you about the time we took a road trip and tried to see every single national monument, did I ever tell you about the time I drove 118 miles per hour through New Mexico. Like I just have lists and lists of stories, which are all memories. And if I if you can capture them, categorize them, and then I would call it allegorize them- think through the meaning of them. More than anything, telling stories will help kids connect to you and establish and cultivate a positive, good relationship.
Also, here's the here's the kind of the clincher, the punch line, kids- back to that original point who were trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in this world- need to hear your stories about how you came of age, figured out your identity, your values, who you are, your strengths, your talents, how you figured out how to navigate through relationships, how you've thought about work and money and time, they need to hear all your stories, because your stories are like mirrors to them to grow in clarity, to become more self-aware, to see how the world works. You can save them time and heartache. You can help them learn and grow and develop by sharing your personal stories. They don't have to say "that's just like me" when they hear yours, but they will, they will resonate with things that you share, or the exact opposite, they'll hear you share something and think immediately, oh my gosh, that is so not me, like a reverse mirror. So they need to hear you tell your stories. And along the way, if you do that, you'll have a better stronger relationship with them, which will keep you in the game to ... staying in your role, and giving you the fuel and the passion to continue to serve kids. So are you a storyteller? You can be. It takes deciding to become one and the deliberate action to practice your stories. We can go into this a lot longer, we probably will in future episodes. How do you tell engaging stories? How do you tell stories that are, uh, have life lessons embedded inside without being preachy or lame? Those are all good questions. But I want to encourage you today, think back. Think back to a life lesson moment of time when you learned something about yourself, a crash and burn story, a story where you triumph. You made it and share with a kid. And I promise you if you start a sentence with "Can I tell you a story about..." you will get their attention, and you will build a better relationship. Hey, thanks for joining in on The YouSchool podcast we'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at theyouschool.com not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcasts episodes. But specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it'll guide you to get clear about who you are in a great store you could tell with your life. So go register for a free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com That's the you school dot com.