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Everyone is a story


This is an expanded version of the piece submitted to The Orange Side (providing personal/executive coaching) for their online publication in December 2020.


Since I was a kid, I've always loved Robert Munsch's book Love You Forever. Published in 1986, it tells the story of a evolving relationship between a mother and son. 

I tend to get a bit of a lump in my throat whenever I hear the line, 'I love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.' If you've read the book, you know how moving it is. If you haven't, you can have a listen here. Munsch explains:

'I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my two dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn't even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn't sing. For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song. Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.'

It turned out that Munsch's publisher discovered that the book was selling very well in retirement communities in Arizona. Parents were buying it for grandparents, grandparents were buying it for parents, and kids were buying it for everyone.

It's a story that obviously resonates with generations, regardless of age or experience, and recently it got me thinking about our personal journeys. The stories we tell ourselves, and the narratives that each of us are living.

Its so easy for us to want to fast forward to our desired destination or skip the suffering, the heartache, the disappointment, the mistakes, the two steps back, or the sometimes lack of momentum. 

But, what if we changed our mindset and saw ourselves as a story? I think about the educators and practitioners The Adult Learning Hub serves, and the power this could have if we see our practice and our professional identity formation as that of a story or a narrative being written.

This perspective would change things. Instead, we might see:

  • the suffering as an experience to teach others or use as our 'living textbook' in our classrooms; 
  • the heartache as learning about what makes us tick
  • the set backs and mistakes as knowledge of what didn't work; 
  • and the two steps back as a journey of someone standing on their own two feet.

What is the story of you that is being written? What can you learn from your experiences, both good and bad? What would you want to share with others?

There is power in your story. Use it. Write it. Learn from it. Stick with it. 


Jane Berwick

Founder @ The Adult Learning Hub

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