There are few things in life more important to the human experience than stories.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned about the stories my father heard back home. The stories of La Llorona, La Mano Peluda, and El Cadejo were staples for my father growing up. One day at university, I called my father and asked him to tell me a story he heard as a child. He told me the story of El Cadejo.

The children on the farm where my father grew up would make their way to a worker’s house at night. The story went that there was an evil lurking in the coffee plants. The elder children would hide in the coffee plants and jump out and scare the younger children. El Cadejo was used as a warning to not leave the house when you weren’t supposed to. “Don’t go anywhere without permission or El Cadejo will follow you and get you,” was the refrain. El Cadejo was a werewolf-like figure, but nobody ever really saw El Cadejo and lived to tell the tale.

I had never heard this story before. I had grown up and left for college, and I was only now hearing about the rich folklore of the home of our ancestors. In that moment, a common thread connected me, my father, and our forebears: the thread of a story.

So, tell stories to the people close to you. I don’t care if it’s oral tradition that goes back to an ancestral farm in Guatemala or the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar. It doesn’t matter. The telling of stories is an experiential bonding experience that can only serve to enlighten. Stories about home, stories about ancestors, even stories told by someone else, all of these are valuable in their own way. Tell stories to your friends and family, no matter how mundane.

Stories connect us. They remind us of shared experiences and can fill us with the wondrous awe of being alive.

You have everything to gain by telling stories to anyone who will listen.

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