That’s what our church’s youth leader said this morning during his testimony about his time as a Marine in Iraq and how we can learn that others that seem so different are so much alike. During January we were learning about Christianity and Islam—half brothers who don’t understand each other so well. Jess’s statement is a great inspiration for telling stories—and for writing and reading memoir. I have an online friend serving in the south of Africa now, in the Peace Corps, and her friends in the US are horrified at her stories yet feel compassion for the people she is living among. Their culture and their lives in poverty are so different than ours, yet they smile and they love and need love like everyone does. Now we want to send them care packages.
Jess’s statement is also an inspiration for writing family stories. He also said that “we are a continuation of our mothers’ stories.” Not that father’s aren’t important, but our mothers carried us for nine months and gave birth to us, and then raised us. Arguably and for various reasons, mothers can be much closer to their children. Who our mothers were and who they became affect us deeply, forming us. For adoptees, the loss of their birth mother is deeply affecting, and their adoption parents have their backgrounds and experiences to shape lives. Our parents weren’t born parents, they have back stories. What we like or don’t like about them is mostly created from those back stories. Don’t you want to know what those stories are?
The stories don’t even need to be true: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/10/02/science.1239918.abstract?sid=f192d0cc-1443-4bf1-a043-61410da39519
I can believe that stories and even movies help build social skills and empathy needed for forming relationships, and some fictional stories purposely strive to bring an important awareness and empathy towards others who are different and/or struggling. But, I think there is nothing like memoir to build close bonds – because you know the story is real and has truly affected real people. You feel a kinship with the author, a real person and not a figment of imagination. By the way, memoir actually has more in common with fiction than nonfiction (see post https://moonbridgebooks.com/2012/11/01/memoir-writing-shares-elements-of-fiction/).
Interesting thought about family stories, Linda, as well as a mostly positive influence on being raised by mothers. In that thought, it seems that fathers make the news for being absent or if they were abusive in one way or another. However, I do feel that certain mothers can also have negative impacts on the child they are raising. Brainwashing, if you will. As many say, kids mimic their parents. I know in my case that is true. ☺
True, we don’t hear as much about fathers except the really bad ones, and maybe that’s why when you do hear of good fathers all the women ooh and ahh. I know you are a very good father! Fathers these days often take a very active role in their children’s lives, versus the old days when dad worked all day and mom stayed home with the kids. And yes, both parents have an impact, good or bad, whether absent or not.