experiments, instruments & measurement book

Story Wars

By Cyd Weissman

Our world is badly in need of solutions in so many spheres – economic, social and environmental to name just a few. The ability to dream up and spread these solutions lives or dies on the ability to tell great stories that inspire people to think differently. Nothing is more urgent than that right now.
Winning The Story Wars, Jonah Sachs

How are we doing in the Story Wars of Congregational Education?  Until we craft a new story that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue we can’t break down the limitations of imagination. Without imagination, without lifting our eyes and hearing what’s possible, we’re in mitzrayim – a narrow place. You can’t just tell a new story. You have to earn one. In New York we are earning a new story: one life at a time. So at our Yachdav yearly Gathering of the Coalition of Innovating Congregations, in May, at the City Winery, each of the fifty congregations who have created new models of Jewish education are telling the story of one person or one family whose life has changed because of the powerful educational and communal experiences they have had.

We’re telling the story in a way that sticks. Anna Marx, the media and marketing project director for our department, gave us a template for story telling used by the experts in story changing. The template, known as the hero’s journey, is regularly used in literature, and advertising to show struggle and triumph. That’s the key, to tell the story so the reader can experience the lows and highs too.

Try it with your team. What’s the struggle and the triumph? What’s enabled it?  And this is a story about changing people’s lives now. We don’t know where a child or family will be in five or ten years.  At least I’m going to humbly say I don’t. But we can say over six months or a year, we know someone well enough, we’ve been involved deeply enough to say we’ve invited them on an adventure, supported them and watched them grow so that they are richer than when it all started. That’s a story we are achieving. That’s the way to win the Story Wars.

See the detailed instruction template for how to tell your heroes journey to prepare for Yachdav on May 9th.

Yachdav 2013 Telling Your Story (PDF)
File Size: 527 kb
File Type: pdf

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