Friday, June 10, 2016

Week 1 Critique: I just hugged the man who murdered my son

This short narrative spoke to me in so many ways.  I am working on a dissertation topic which involves exploring emotional intelligence and how telling and sharing narratives can create empathy. As I listened to this particular dual narrative, I am struck by the degree of empathy that is shared by the story tellers.  It is a dual narrative because we hear it from the point of view of the murderer and the mother, the perpetrator and the victim, the forgiven and the forgiver.  It is powerful material.

And yet, it is so brief.  In the short couple of minutes, this story conveys so much shared history--and tells of both the worst of humanity and the best. This is where I think that digital storytelling can be so very powerful and really why I have decided to research it on a deeper level for my dissertation.

So as I look at the rubric this story is told simply.  I believe to tell it in any other way might cause it to lose some impact.  The story itself is simple--profound and powerful.

I go back to my theme for the summer.  And I consider how this story embodies the ideas of change, transitions and risk taking and I believe that this story embodies that theme for both of the tellers.  I cannot imagine losing my son to a murder.  Even as I listen to this mother, I cannot imagine forgiving his murderer much less living next door to him.  That is a risk I can only wonder at.

Equally so, how does a murderer forgive himself and cleanse himself from the shame of taking a human life?  I don't know how that happens either.  Yet, to listen to this story, I realize that the change, transition and risk-taking that I have experienced pales in the comparison of the depth of these two stories woven together into one which tells the bigger story of empathy and forgiveness in the worst of human circumstances.

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