Once upon a time, in a land not so far from ours, there lived a storyteller. She came from a small village, and loved to make the people there laugh. She also loved to learn, and so found herself drawn to schools. After attending school herself for many years, she moved on to helping several colleges tell their stories to would-be students. When she eventually had a child of her own, she moved over to a high school to work more closely with students. There she happily spent her days seeking out, listening to, and helping students discover and share their stories. Her students were young adults who were in the midst of discerning which stories they were meant to live, so both the stories and the learning were rich with promise.
One day, when she had been doing this counseling work for quite some time, a leader in her learning community asked her a thought-stirring question. “What would it take,” he began, “for you to find and tell stories on behalf of our entire community, in addition to doing that on behalf of individual learners?”
The storyteller was surprised by how quickly she was able to respond – she was something of a slow thinker, and friends had learned that her contributions would often come near the end of a conversation. “What would it take? I would have to work with fewer individual students!” she answered with a broad yet rueful grin, for she knew as well as he did that their school’s classes were growing in size. “Fewer students” was not going to happen any time soon.
But then, as sometimes happens in stories and in life, a way opened. A colleague who sought new challenges and greater opportunities for student connection was intrigued by the possibilities that taking on some students as counselees might represent for him. The idea of adding an already-trusted colleague to the counseling team made a shift in the storyteller’s responsibilities seem a less daunting prospect.
The more the storyteller thought about it, the more she began to feel that this new path was one that she was meant to take. The tools available for story sharing had developed so dramatically since she had first begun this work… wouldn’t it be wonderful to see what could be done now? And weren’t there untold stories within her current school community that she would be pleased to share, and that others might be delighted to discover?
So when the chance came, unbidden and still somewhat in need of shaping, she smiled again… and took it.