How Stories Actually Teach Us

What’s the point of a story?

To transport you to another time and place? Yes.

To capture your imagination and inspire you to be more? Yes and yes.

To teach you? Absolutely!

Wait ... teach?

As long as fictional storytelling has existed (which far outdates the fairly recent invention of the novel), humanity has been enraptured with Story.

Why?

Yes, stories help us escape the mundane day-to-day experiences. Yes, stories are incredibly relaxing—possibly the number-one diversion in the history of mankind. Yes, stories inspire us with their art, their beauty, their emotion.

But what if I told you that we love stories because they teach us?

Let me explain.

Many stories are justly put down for being “too preachy.” Which is another way of saying “too boring.” Nobody goes to the movies expecting—or wanting—to hear a sermon.

So it’s natural to assume that we don’t enjoy stories that teach us.

But that’s wrong.

Maybe it would be better if I exchanged the word “teach” for “entertain”.

In their purest form, the words "teach" and "entertain" have the same meaning: To show or tell us something we've never seen before.

In their purest form, the words "teach" and "entertain" have the same meaning: To show or tell us something we’ve never seen before.

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We humans are curious creatures; we have a never-ending desire to know. We’re driven by curiosity.

The best stories show us things we’ve never seen before, teaching and entertaining us at the same time.

Jesus did this in his ministry. He used parables to encapsulate spiritual truths in natural forms.

We didn’t know what it means to love our neighbor until we hear the story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

We didn’t know what God’s unconditional love is like until we hear the story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32).

Jesus wasn’t telling these stories in order to inspire the imaginations of his audience. He wasn’t telling these stories to help people escape their day-to-day routines.

And yet his stories accomplished that very thing.

Because that’s what a good story does.

To help you write the best story possible, I've written an ebook—that I'm giving to you as a free gift—that contains a roadmap to writing a story that both enraptures the reader and teaches them something.

Something about love. Or truth. Or goodness. Or sacrifice. Or beauty.

Because the best stories ever told have always had a message. A story with a point is, simply put, a good story.

A Christmas Carol.

Pride and Prejudice.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The Count of Monte Cristo.

A Wrinkle in Time.

Time to add your story to the list.

To download your free copy, click the link here and start writing your best story yet!

Joshua Pior

I'm a twenty-something writer of several short stories and (bad) novels, an artist, board game enthusiast, and homeschool grad. God has used stories again and again to impact my life, which first inspired me to become a writer and to help other young authors write their best stories yet!

Hi! Can I send you something?

I've written an eBook to help you write the best short story you can, including a plot outlining tool and a character creation sheet. Enter your email below and I'll send it to you for free.