This is one of my favorite quotes from Plato’s The Republic. The gathering of people for the sole purpose of sharing songs and stories is an important part of human tradition, and the interaction was (and is) not only entertaining, but educational. I think Plato is saying in the quote above that a storyteller or songwriter has an opportunity to help lead the listener to greatness. Or perhaps he is saying the listeners are already great just because they have the desire to listen to the story. I’m not sure. I’m probably not as smart as Plato. I do, however, love songs and stories!
Singing songs and telling stories is a form of communication that pre-dates the written word. Before people started writing their stories down on paper (or rather chiseling them in stone) and before songs were easily recorded and readily available for download and streaming, the only way to share these songs and stories was in person. There is something fundamentally human about communicating in this manner.
In a world where people, especially children, are increasingly spending time alone in front of a computer, these communal gatherings are more important than ever. It’s an opportunity to connect or re-connect with people on an emotional level and enjoy everything that binds us together as humans. If you have a chance to take your children to see a songwriter or storyteller, do it! It’s an opportunity to visit a world you might know nothing about or meet a character you would otherwise never meet. It’s also an opportunity to have a great time!