I saw an old TED video of ChimamandaAdichie;the undisputable Queen of storytelling in Nigeria, where she spoke extensively on the topic of The Danger of a Single Story.In her usual manner of using storytelling to highlight salient issues, Chimamandanarrated how surprised people she met outside the country were when they got to hear another side of the stories they were told or have read about Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
While pondering on what she said, I remembered a popular phrase here in Nigeria that says“There are two sides to a story”, and even the holy Bible alluded to this saying in Proverbs 18:17“Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight”. The New Living Translation captured it very aptly.
It is undeniably dangerous to hear one side of a story and accept it hook line and sinker without making efforts to hear the other side of the story. It is very important not to take decisions based on what somebody told us or what we read without making efforts to double check what we’ve heard.
We observed that people who make the efforts to double check a story before acting are:
- Open-minded:This means they are opened to new ideas, they are unprejudiced, unbiased, non-discriminatory, non-judgmental, non-align and it goes on and on. This undoubtedly is a very strong character. An open minded person never believes in a one sided story, they won’t sit down to participate in gossip about others nor peddle rumors. They are not unidirectional in their views and opinions. They are careful in their thoughts and words towards other people; hence they are mostly out of trouble and seek to become better people.
- Good listeners:“…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”. A good listener is never too quick to taking irrational actions they may regret later, he/she would rather listen to what is being said attentively and then analyze,and pick what is useful for them after which they will discard what is not useful for them. They listen to grow; they listen to become better as individuals in their work place, homes, relationships, communities, churches and also as Christians.
- Thirsty for knowledge: They do not only listen attentively, they also commit time to studying. They want to know, they want to hear full story and not hinged their decisions or choices on hearsay. Many people have taken decisions they are regretting just because they never seek for knowledge, they acted solely based on what someone told them and not what is the truth.
I have been berated in the past for not been swift in my decisions because I don’t jump into conclusion, rather I try to ponder deeply on issues and in most cases pray diligentlybefore deciding on what to do,and even when things don’t go as I thought, I never regret because I know I seek the face of God concerning the issue.
Undoubtedly there are times where we need to take decisions on our feet, but irrespective,taking decisions based on what we hear and not double checking to be sure what we’ve heard is the truth is dangerous. And that is basically the danger in a single story.