April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Writer, storyteller – same diff

One of the local TV news stations used to have a segment called, “Everybody Has a Story.” As corny as that may sound, I wholeheartedly believe it. I love hearing people’s stories.

I am blessed to work in a job that allows me to tell stories. I get to interview brilliant health professionals and researchers about their work and write articles and press releases that tell the public about the lives they’re affecting and the discoveries they’re making.

When I was a reporter in Wheeling, I remember covering an elementary school presentation, during which a police officer showed the children how his K-9 partner is trained to sniff out drugs. I was fascinated by the methods he used. I left there thinking, “What a neat job. Maybe I should’ve been a police officer with a drug-sniffing dog.”

Over the years, I’ve been inspired by lots of different people and their jobs. I’ve wondered if I should train to be a pastry chef, doula, midwife or lactation consultant. (Notice how my love of food is right up there with my passion for natural birth and breastfeeding!)

Now that I work in healthcare, I am constantly surrounded by people who are truly making a difference. They are saving patients’ lives, advancing medical technology and creating new drugs. Sometimes I feel like I am a lowly spectator, with my notebook and a camera, asking questions and knowing so little.

Back when I worked in Wheeling doing public relations for the local school system, I attended events and meetings, took notes, interviewed teachers and students and snapped pictures. Those were the primary duties of my job. Sometimes, however, the office where I worked held events – administrative retreats, special luncheons and congratulatory receptions. Although I was expected to attend these gatherings as a member of the staff, I also had to take pictures and document the experience. Again, I felt like a spectator.

I think this happens to us sometimes as parents too. Often I am so busy taking pictures – trying to document important milestones and capture special memories – that I end up missing out. It’s as though I’m living outside the moment, instead of being in the moment.

I grow weary of being on the sidelines. I look at the lifesavers and difference makers around me at work and think maybe I should go back to school and switch careers. Then I start to think about what that would really entail. Me studying science? Hah.

I’m attempting to find a balance – trying to soak up all the information I can from peeking in on others’ important work, all the while finding enjoyment in sharing their stories without feeling like a complete outsider.

When I graduated from college, all the professors in the English department signed cards for the seniors. One of the messages in my card read, “April may be a month, but Leiffer is a writer. There is no higher praise.”

Imagine if there was no one to tell the difference makers’ stories. Who would want to live in a world without the storytellers? Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself.

Originally published on ovparent.com.

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