Story Telling

I was privileged to be able to experience the musical, Phantom of the Opera, in Melbourne during the recent holidays. An additional joy was to watch two old scholars from one of our learning communities, Faith Lutheran College, perform in the musical (one as the lead character, The Phantom). For those not familiar with the story, it is based on a 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux, it tells the tale of a disfigured genius who haunts the Paris Opera House. Mesmerized by the talents and beauty of a young soprano Christine, the Phantom lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her.

In an issues paper released in 2018 by Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ), Executive Director, David Robertson provided this reflection:

A school’s most valuable and irreplaceable asset is their story. Storytelling conveys a school’s purpose, values, quality of experiences, and most crucially, what other people say about them.

I tend to concur with the heart of this reflection but would humbly suggest that it is the staff who are the most valuable and irreplaceable asset – as they are the storytellers. Knowing, understanding, owning and sharing our story is critical.

With our individual learning communities’ mission as their cornerstone and Growing deep as the lens, it is important that we continue to weave a story of: Self-worth, engagement, quality, care, meaning and purpose. The depth and strength of our relationships are at the core of being able to best tell our story.

The ISQ paper reflected upon some research regarding what children and students are looking for in their learning. Here are some key questions they are consciously/subconsciously asking:

  • Do you know me?
  • Can you engage me?
  • Can you ensure I will not get left behind?
  • Are you able to prepare me for the future?

To be able to tell our story we must be able to answer these questions in the affirmative.

And of critical importance is to have the wisdom, courage and humble conviction to tell God’s story through thought, word and actions.

The disciples of Jesus came to him and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight”. All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: ‘I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world’s first day’. (Matthew 13:10-12;34-35)

May God bless us all in how we serve, lead and tell God’s story in our learning communities this year.

Craig Fielke


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