I was looking back at some of my personal blog posts and discovered this one entitled ‘Where to drop the pebble‘ from October 2011 which I thought was worth sharing here on the PNI2 site more than three years later as every word is still very relevant, and little did I know where one such ripple was going to take me.

I owe a great debt of thanks to Cynthia Kurtz whose recent posts on her excellent ‘Story Coloured Glasses‘ blog have made me reassess the importance of storytelling in my work and I am especially reinforced by her definition that it is ‘participative narrative inquiry’ which she is exploring to update the third edition of her book ‘Working with Stories’.

This reinforced my thinking for my recent workshop for youth leaders and particularly influenced my thinking at two meetings in Brussels this week on EC related projects.

In her most recent post Cynthia mentions a free pdf of the latest edition of the Participatory and Learning and Action journal available here.

Three of the best quotes in this journal, from Cynthia, in my opinion, are:

1. The importance of face-to-face communication for the development of good relationships among the partners and to strengthen the sharing and learning among them.

2. Stories are anecdotal and local, but they carry tremendous value by creating a context in which facts can be better understood.

3. The ultimate reason to pay attention to stories, whether at the individual, family, community or regional level, is not so much because of what they communicate but because of what they help us discover. We tell and listen to stories in order to make sense of the world around us, and we do this both individually and collectively. Working with stories in your community can help you reflect on the past, understand the present and build a better future.

What particularly caught my eye on a quick skim was the overriding idea that ripples form as we intervene when using story based methods and therefore where best should we ‘drop our pebble’ to make these ripples deliver most impact.

Well our first feedback has just arrived from the youth forum we did last weekend and it has instilled in me great faith in this idea of ripples that might influence social change. I also think that the earlier  you encounter these ripples the better (ie younger the participants).

the students have come back from the weekend telling me of the brilliant time that they had so I just wanted to say thank you. The words they are using to describe it are: ‘fantastic, incredible, brilliant’ and many more such adjectives! They felt that it had really helped them to grow personally and to meet new friends and engage in problem solving so thanks again

Now that already feels to me like a pebble well placed.