. . . our first stories. The stories we heard as children may have been that we were good, bad, smart, slow, friendly, or shy. But no matter what that story was, we had little part in choosing the type of story we were told, we just listened to those around us. As we grew, left the home, and began to interact with others, we found that we liked to listen to certain types of people and certain types of messages. But still young, we hadn’t created criteria for choosing our storyteller. We would pick up books, turn on the television, go to movies, and listen to those around us. Some of the stories we heard were tragic, some were degrading, and others were inspiring. Little by little we gravitated towards those stories that seemed to mimic our desires and wants. As we have grown older, some of us have noted that the stories we allow ourselves to listen to can have a profound affect on our perspective and ultimately can affect the way that we interact with others in the world.

"They say that you’re using only ten percent of your brain. They say the corner office is a position of power. They say you can earn thousands of dollars a week in your spare time. And we listen to this. What makes us choose to listen to what we do? And do these decisions have an effect upon our lives?

When we change the television channel or make a new friend, in some ways we are choosing to listen to a different story. Are we aware that some of these stories are designed to coerce us? .And are we also aware that there are stories that can help us to improve our lives, enhance us spiritually and enable us to be better persons?

One of the richest and most spiritually enhancing sources of stories for us is from our extended families.

And what we are attempting to do for you here, is to invite you to turn the remote towards your extended family, to stuff into your "i pod" with stories that came from people who shared some of your same genes, who had similar interests as you and who probably dreamed many of the same dreams you do.

Family stories gives everyone a chance to have a voice, it is a way for each of us to be heard. It is a way of sharing things that can give us more depth and balance in our lives. After all, we get mighty busy and strung out these days and probably what the doctor needs to order for us is to simply connect with people who came from people who in turn came from people who bear the same name as we.

Granted, when we are young, we long to slip away from the bounds of Mom and Dad, to get away from siblings whom we have rivaled or to leave the town of which we tired. But there comes a time, be assured, when after chasing after all these "freedoms," there is something deep within us that longs to hear again the voice of a parent, to sit again and listen to an uncle tell his stories, to feel the warmth of an aunt wrapping her arms about you. When these symptoms appear it is time to reconnect, it is time to come home to hear again the family stories.

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