Watching Glee‘s holiday special on televison last night (I’m a moderate Gleek), I was surprised by the emotion a certain song evoked in me.
When the group sang Welcome Christmas from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My eyes welled with tears, and I remember the courage of Whoville and those who sang with cheer even though they’d lost all of their gifts.
I know it couldn’t have been the words that moved me, especially since it starts with:
Fah who for-aze! Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze! Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas, Welcome Christmas,
Come this way! Come this way!
Those are a lot of made-up words, but my tears didn’t seem to know it.
Then I realized that How the Grinch Stole Christmas played to the heart in two different ways. You are taken through the gamut of emotions, starting with fear of the Grinch. Then you feel sorry for the dog that has to wear antlers that are so big they make him fall over.
Finally, you feel joy and a sense of relief when you enter Whoville and encounter the very best part of who we are.
As I sat there with tears in my eyes, I looked over at my husband and realized he had welled up as well. If a story can move you to tears forty years after you first saw it with one simple song, why don’t we use those stories more often to move people?
Stories and songs create emotional associations that stay with us for life. Remember that the next time you’re fighting for change by presenting data. No one will remember that data in forty minutes, much less forty years.
If you want to have impact, touch the heart. If you don’t believe I’m right, then listen to this song again. Then don’t even tell me that there’s not a child inside of you swaying back and forth with little Cindy-Lou Who.