The beauty of humanity is in its fascination with the imagination. Our power is in our ability to weave stories. Our understanding of the world is based on the stories we have been telling for thousands of years. We understand the moon as a person, the seas as a woman. In some cultures, we believe in dragons and build structures to facilitate them. In my culture we believe in frightening forest creatures that we use to protect our children from wandering too far at night.

Jamaicans' favourite story is a much lighter story that teaches our children to find their way around any challenge. It's actually a set of stories about a folk hero named Ananse. The Ananse stories feature Ananse as a spider or spider-man who interacts with other forest animals who are usually bigger than him. Despite his small stature and sometimes lower social status, Ananse is always wiser than his peers. In many stories he manages to outwit those who stand between him and what he wants. The world needs stories like that to inspire hope in us.

Powerful storytelling teaches important lessons that can help to grow confident, compassionate people. With stories like Ananse stories, we can believe that we can do anything no matter our circumstances. Through myths that personify the earth, we can learn to be more gentle with the environment. When we take control of our own stories, we can share language, values, and experiences that will make the world a better place. Great storytelling can expand our understanding of one another, which will, in turn, improve life for all.




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