One thing I have learned in life that has helped me tremendously is that learning with stories is so much easier. What I mean by this is that it is much easier to get a clearer understanding through to someone by using stories, examples, analogies, similes or parables. So how about we take a look at a story so that I can help you to get a better picture of what I am talking about.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Most of us are aware of the age old story of the boy who cried wolf, but for arguments sake I will give you the short version of the story here.
“A young lad was in charge of watching the villages small herd of sheep. One day he thought of a joke to play on the other villagers. He began to cry out as loud as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!” All of the villages dropped what they were doing and ran to come help protect their valuable sheep. Unfortunately for them though, there was no wolf.
The lad thought this was funny, despite the villagers thinking quite the opposite. Over the next few days the lad repeated this joke several times with each time having the same results. However, a week later a pack of wolves crept up on the unsuspecting herd and when the boy cried out for help no one came. All of the villagers heard his cries but figured that it was just another joke, no one believed it was real this time.
As you can see here I was able to share a short story with you to help explain why pranking people can have serious consequences. I could have very easily said to you, “Don’t prank people as it might haunt you in the end.” Would you have really gotten the point as clear as you would have if I had told you the above story instead?
Various Different Types of Methods
While stories are great, there are various different types of methods that you can use to help someone learn better. These can be things such as just giving simple examples or analogies of what you are talking about or using similes. Parables are also another route, but they are much akin to telling a story.
Examples: Examples are the most simple of these methods as they are a clear and distinct demonstration of what you are talking about. Often when someone is explaining something you will hear them say, “For example…” and then demonstrate exactly what they are talking about.
Similes: These are a figure of speech that uses words such as: Like, As, So, Than or other similar verbs to compare two things. For example (Ha! see what I did there?), the athlete was as agile as a cat. In essence you are using the well known trait of a cat which almost anyone can relate with to explain how the athlete was able to move.
Parables: This is similar to a story with a few set guidelines. These stories are intended to teach a specific moral or principal to the subjects. They always use humans in the story unlike a fable which could use animals as characters. Jesus is the most well known teacher that often used parables in his teachings.
Analogies: are a similarity between the commonalities of two things that can then be used in comparison with one another. An example of this would be: The new program at work is pretty easy, just follow the bouncing ball. So as you can see here I took a common phrase and used it to explain the ease of a new system.
More on Similes
When I was in grade school I had tested well and joined the Gifted program. One of the tools that was used to help our young minds learn how to associate different things with another was similes. I completed a ton of worksheets with problems such as: Dog is to Cat like Cat is to ______? The correct answer here if you have not figured it out already is mouse. A dog chases a cat like a cat chases a mouse!
I attribute my in depth experience with these worksheets to my way of thinking in life. I often take a broader view of what is going on and using the simple problem format above to link things together. It helps me to understand what exactly is going on around me when I can have that comparison. A more basic way of stating it is that it helps me to connect the dots.
I would highly recommend using similes with your kids as an added way to help develop their young minds. After doing a little bit of searching online I found a good site that had a bunch of different types of worksheets for them here.
Communicating Your Perspective
Each soul on this planet has their own unique perspective of what is going on around them in their life and environment. Getting others to understand that perspective is where all of the above comes into play.
Have you ever described how something smelled to someone else? I was recently part of such a conversation with a group of people all trying to describe a certain smell and I quite enjoyed all of the various perspectives that were presented. Similes, Analogies and stories were all being used to convey each person’s perspective on the subject.
So as you can see here, these methods are already a part of all of our lives. Learning how to pay attention to them, whether they are yours or others, can play a vital role in helping us to understand each other. Always be mindful when speaking with others and make sure to use stories and such to get a clearer picture across them. The better we communicate with each other, the better chances we have to live in a world with less conflict.
Share Your Story With Us
Is there a time in your life where it was a story that helped you to get a clearer picture? Perhaps you often use one of these methods to help get your points across. Please share with us so that we can all use the knowledge to grow together. Leave your story in the comment section below!
James W D