The historian Yuval Harari argues that our ability to craft stories helped us become the dominant species in the world. Storytelling is a powerful transmitter of culture and values. Families are an essential building block of society, and many of us learn how to interact with society through experience with our own families.
Stories about families fascinate us. In pop culture, we love to examine family conflict and dysfunction in series like Succession, Yellowstone and Greenleaf.
But these stories are not new; the plots and subplots have been around for centuries. Furthermore, while these stories make for great entertainment, they can actually be more – they can be a learning tool.
The Book of Genesis is an amazing collection of stories about dysfunctional families. It includes all of the plot elements that we’ve seen throughout history: sibling rivalry, murder, jealousy, betrayal, favouritism.
As a book, they are more than just a set of discrete stories. Rather, they form a progression that starts with murder but concludes with the foundation of a people and a legacy. Through Genesis, we see the family of Abraham learning and adapting. Examining these stories can be a fantastic learning tool for families.