Story Storming: Using Values to Find Stories


I love values, the essence of beliefs underpinning our way of viewing and responding to the world. I love naming, working with, talking about, aspiring to and understanding ourselves and each other better through values.  Yes, totally nerdy, intense and meaningful.

And so I’ve been thinking about storying with values. How can we use values to find stories, and use stories to explore values?  

So here’s an experiment to try:  Spend a fewminutes (or one if you’re really busy) brainstorming events in your life relating to the issue of ‘Trust’. Go on, give it a whirl.

I just did it and here’s three of the memoriesI came up with:

The summer holiday at Philip Island when I was about to start high school and the the older kids promised me treats if I ran back and forth to the beach getting them things.  They didn’t deliver on the promise and so I stole their lollies and cigarettes.

Which reminds me of the time they were choosing the netball team in grade 6 and I agreed to run to the shops for the cool sporty girls and by the time I came back the team had been chosen.

My first boy friend two-timing me, and everyone else knowing and not telling me. 

Once I finished I realised these were all stories about times when I felt betrayed.  The other side of this coin, when I have broken trust, needed some deliberate attention, so I spent another few minutes on this side of the ledger and came up with:

When I was accused of stealing the lollies and cigarettes on the summer holiday at Phillip Island, and I outright denied it.

When I was unfaithful to a lover, (even if I told them shortly afterwards), and this happened more than once.

When I have lost my temper with my children, which has been far more often than I care to admit.

When I shop lifted, when I stole money from my Dad’s pockets, when I secretly ate chocolate or lollies that were for everyone.

This second round was harder, I could see less stories and more broad sweeping generalisations, which tells me something about what sticks in my mind - the times I feel wronged, not the times I have done the wronging!  Not really surprising but it is interesting to notice.

In these lists there are a couple of moments that would be worthwhile crafting into stories, so values are potentially really useful prompts for mining our memories for stories.   

Did it work for you?   Let us know how you went in the comments section below. 

(And then paste any good memories into your ongoing story ideas list, cos’ you do have one, don’t you?)