When we choose to tell a story, unless we're doing it only for entertainment, we give our readers something to make them ponder—even if they ignore the meaning.
Novelists of earlier times often addressed readers and told them the message they wanted them to grasp. As a child, I enjoyed Aesop's Fables because each story ended with a lesson for life.
These days our writing needs more subtlety, especially in illustrations or short pieces. If you've crafted a first-person story, you can say, "That day I learned . . . " Readers automatically transfer the "I" of the author to themselves.
Most of my blog entries present a takeaway, even when I'm not telling a story. I try to keep the words simple, direct, and easy to remember. The principle is the same: Leave readers with something they can take from our writing. Or another way to say it is: We reward them for staying with us.
A good takeaway is memorable;
it also enriches others' lives.