“Oral tradition is as old as the human race. The telling of stories serves to educate, to strengthen community ties, to entertain, and to heal. These are the main goals of the Connections project.” – Mike Weddell, Project coordinator
During the winter semester of 2017 I had the privilege of begin apart of a directed study called “Connections: The Art of Storytelling”. Something that even after the class has long ended, I am still apart of.
This directed study was an interesting adventure as I learned a lot about the art of listening, non-verbal communication, seeking information and learning when my voice is needed. At times the project was tough, as people did not want their stories recorded but wanted to tell their stories to someone. It made me realize that this project was about building a community and bringing people together through listening to each other…. ACTUALLY LISTENING. In a world where connections are becoming more and more about a keystroke on social media, the ability to speak and listen is fading. I never knew the value of listening until I participated in this project.
The stories that I collected where primarily indigenous stories and they were fascinating. Through these storytellers I learned about First Nations cultural beliefs, values, rituals, history, ways of life, customs and holistic learning.
Key skills that I took away from this project was time management, communication both verbal and non-verbal, listening and allowing people to speak, even if I do not necessarily like or agree with what is being said. I also learned that stories have the power to heal, entertain and unite communities by creating a common ground. All of these skills help me to be a better Global Citizen.