by Allison LaBelle ’20
Everybody has a story. It is important to remember that. There are seven billion people in the world, and on average a person will meet around 10,000 people in his or her lifetime. That is a whole lot of stories. We encounter so many people on a day-to-day basis whom we know little to nothing about. People on the street. People in our classes. People at the dining hall. We brush past people having no idea what goes on in their lives. It is almost crazy to think that everyone we pass has their own complex life story with all sorts of intricacies and dynamics.
People want their stories to be heard. So why don’t we take the time to get to know people on a deeper level? Sometimes we wrongly assume we know people’s stories before we even meet them. We fall victim to stereotypes and biases. The thing to remember: we all use stereotypes. Human beings are biologically set up to do so. So when stereotypical thoughts start creeping into your head, don’t beat yourself up about it. This way of thinking is embedded within us. However, stereotypes can be overcome when time is taken to actually get to know an individual.
Stop yourself from making assumptions, and let people into your life. Give it a shot, and say hello. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman did just this. Hartman came up with a method to hear people’s stories, and share them with the rest of the world. Every two weeks, he would throw a dart at a map of America, go to the area the dart hit, look through the local phone book, and pick a name at random. It was his mission to learn the story of each person that was randomly selected.
As years past, Hartman decided to take his mission to the world. He wanted to know the people of the world as neighbors, as friends. Stories bond people together. The people Hartman talked to and interviewed were typical people with ordinary lives. These are the stories that should be shared. Why is it that the only stories we hear about in magazines are those of celebrities? And why is it that the only stories shared on the news are usually dismal and sad? I want to hear about the good times mixed with the bad.
I want to hear about the happy moments in people’s lives. One of the men that Hartman interviewed, Erik Colton, lives on a ranch with his wife and two kids. Colton shared with us the story of his wedding proposal. How did he get down on a knee? Well, he didn’t. He proposed over the phone. Life is all about these unforgettable moments.
These moments should be shared for laughter and smiles. People want to share. We just need to be willing to take the time to listen. Listening to other people’s stories can help to educate us.
Everyone’s story is unique. People of different backgrounds and ethnicities have different stories. The more we know about others, the more educated we will be.