Learning to Break Down Barriers with Stories
Gary Griffin, Environmental Landscape Management student and professional, and member of PHOENIX Rising Transitions, talks about how he has learned at MACG the power of story to break down silos between people to work towards the common good.
"I think what has impacted me the most about the IAF training and MACG involvement has been the power of story. I think we all have mental images and assumptions regarding other people based on indirect experience.
Hearing another's story and getting a peek into their world hangs a genuine human face on something that may have previously been an abstraction or based on faulty information and input. Stories help me to understand other people and the details that create the circumstances so often painted with wide brush-strokes which leave the picture a bit unclear.
I am often struck by people's responses to learning that I spent almost 8 years in prison and was addicted to heroin for 12 years. Similarly, many of my biases (or even prejudices) have been eroded by hearing another person's story and truly seeing that we share far more in common than either of us may have realized.
I have grown a great deal from cultivating relationships with people from diverse and different backgrounds rather than simply seeking people who I may think have more in common with me. I have changed by developing more awareness and a willingness to engage in public life (even on small, local levels) rather than opting out."