Policy of Engaged Neutrality
It is from NSN’s Values — Responsive Innovation, Cultural Awareness and Engagement, Inclusion, Collaboration, and Integrity — that we draw the following policy:
The National Storytelling Network will not organizationally articulate or otherwise provide support for or opposition to any specific candidate for office, legislation (pending or finalized), or policy, apart from the advancement of the art of storytelling. We will instead seek to engage all people to tell and hear one another’s stories, with the expectation that the path to resolution is paved, in part, by empathy and respect. Our individual members are encouraged to pursue their convictions however they deem appropriate.
In support of this policy, we present the following article illustrating the Power of Stories to Build Bridges
We believe in the power of stories…
Stories offer insight, context, and experience. A story has the unique ability to break down barriers and enable people to identify with, understand and perhaps even empathize with experiences and feelings unlike their own.
Stories make meaning. To see a truth lived out in a character is to catch a glimpse of how it could live in one’s own experience. To relate such a truth from one’s own life through narrative is to share with others the power it brings. Its power is not diminished by sharing – it’s expanded, and can inspire listeners to take action.
The transparency and vulnerability inherent in the sharing of a story draws the listener to the story. It also draws them to the story-teller. Being willing to share a difficult experience, joyful epiphany or compelling drama invites the audience into the life and psyche of the teller. Respectful listening validates the worth of the one sharing and forges community.
Stories teach us that while our methods may differ and our priorities may be shuffled, our hearts often yearn for similar outcomes. Watching one with whom we disagree explore their own experience often reveals their values to be very consistent with our own. Stories enable that exploration in a way that is both compelling and non-threatening. They offer a bridge from one side of a divide and invite a reflection that completes the connection.
Stories should be taken to places where they can make a difference.