Story Telling – the power to transform

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”– Rudyard Kipling

The Power to Transform

Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture in our minds. Our storytelling ability, a uniquely human trait, has been with us as long as we’ve been able to speak and listen. Not only do people love to tell stories, but people also love to hear stories!

Listen to this tiny story of Bob Brophy, who lived at Peachtree Village in Roswell New Mexico.  What a wonderful tiny story from Mr. Brophy’s library of his lifetime! (As you listen to the audio -read the transcription below the story)


Bob Brophy, storyteller…and here comes a sailboat south… here’s a man and woman on board stark naked sailing the ship… They were buck naked… I was so stunned…. It made me forget my good manners         

TRANSCRIPT:  After the storm was over we went in on the inland. We got on the canal and went out into Virginia…oh damn, my memory is failing me, but anyway we were sailing just the two of us on a yacht going north up this canal; and here comes a sailboat south, and as we passed about 20 feet apart, here’s a man and woman on board stark naked sailing the ship, and He says “Hi how are you, what’s going on?” They were buck naked. What am I going to talk about to these people? I didn’t’ have enough good manners to wish them a good trip too. I was so stunned. I remembered that all my life. It made me forget my good manners.


“Every time an old person dies, a library burns to the ground.”  African Proverb

The Elders are truly ‘human libraries’  with stories ripe for harvesting! I just got back from a community in Illinois and was captivated by the tiny stories I heard.

We have a unique opportunity to harvest the wisdom, the humor, and memories we hear every day. We are in relationships with elders who have journeyed almost a full century on this planet. Through their stories, we connect with one another while giving our resident storytellers the opportunity to reconnect with what was once taken for granted. We give them the opportunity to share their memories for generations to come. And, the tiny stories can be preserved forever in digital media and libraries.

Through the simple process of capturing these adventures, challenges, and wisdom acquired on their life journey –  we create a profoundly enriching experience for both the storyteller and the recorder.


To hear more tiny stories from Elder Storytellers around the United States go to the Tiny Stories Page, and get ready to smile, and be filled with the legacies of elderhood preserved here.

If you are interested in preserving your own tiny stories, or the stories of someone you love, please contact me, and I will be happy to help you save your library of tiny stories too!


About the Author: Jean Garboden is the Director of Education and Innovation at Compass Senior Living, located in Eugene Oregon. Jean is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for-profit health care organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living. Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada.

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