We all think we know what the real story is. New Zealand wins the rugby world cup so it’s about sport, isn’t it? Or the shootings and bombings in Paris, that’s about terrorism, right? But there isn’t just one side to a story, or even two or three. There are countless possible stories and as readers and writers we should be aware of this. One of the great benefits of reading is the development of empathy. Seeing there is more than one story is an extension of this. If you can do this you have a chance of understanding your fellow human beings.
So lets think of those stories again. New Zealand winning the world cup – it’s the story of little sister beating big sister, of colonialism, of the amalgamation of two cultures, of skill and fitness and perseverance … I could go on. It is also Australia’s story as the losing team, England’s story as the host nation. Everyone has their point of view and all are equally valid.
And the Paris tragedy? It is both political and personal, international and psychological. Every one of those men who committed the murders will have had a unique journey taking them to that point. As will every victim. Some people won’t even see it as a tragedy. If we can get our heads around the story from their point of view then we are really empathising. Remember everyone’s story is equally valid …
Hold on to that thought.