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Ronda Graff

Community Connections

News and views from the McCook Community Foundation Fund

Opinion

Pass along your passion

Thursday, September 10, 2020

This past weekend, I stood atop a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado and was thankful for the opportunity to be there. While my family are regular skiers, we had never purposely climbed to the top of these mountains. Yet, there we stood, gasping for air and gazing for miles in every direction.

How did we end up there? In addition to the obvious (we put one foot in front of the other, mile after mile, until we reached the top), we were there because someone asked.

It was that simple. While standing on the sideline of a YMCA soccer game this summer, a friend asked us if we wanted to go hiking and was willing to pass along their passion for the sport.

Never one to turn down an opportunity to try something new, this was also a chance to go with a group of experienced hikers, who were willing to share their expertise about gear, share their first aid supplies when my son tripped and broke his hand and share their knowledge of the mountain, even if that turned out to be a bit different than what they remembered and I ended up crawling on my hands and knees across a narrow ledge, peering down at what felt like thousands of feet into the abyss.

They were willing to pass along their love of hiking and share what they had learned over years of trial and error. They didnít always reach the summit when hiking, but they usually learned something, which they were generous enough to pass along.

It is as simple as passing it along. Passing along the knowledge you have learned. Passing along the experiences you have gained. Passing along the passion you have built over the years.

That is how I have ended up among 25,000 fellow bicyclists the past few summers. Someone asked my family to go along and show us how to navigate long lines for food, how to find tubes for flat tires and how to locate camping spots when every green space is already taken.

That is how I have ended up among hundreds of concert-goers in the mountains, listening to folk music. I expressed an interest to friends, who invited us to not only share their tarp on the ground but even set up our tent for camping.

That is how I ended up memorizing dozens of lines for a play, performing in front of hundreds of friends and strangers. Someone knew I had both a hard time saying ďnoĒ and didnít mind embarrassing myself and asked me to fill the role. Thankfully for everyone in attendance, there was no singing involved.

In all those instances, someone passed along their knowledge and their passion, which in turn increased my knowledge and my passion..

Consequently, I have invited many fellow bikers to join us on bike rides, whether across town or across the state. I have taken others to concerts, who may have been intimidated by the location. And while I most likely wonít step on stage again, I am doing what I can to support arts and the theater for those are a bit more dramatic than myself.

Yes, there is a certain amount of personal responsibility to take something on without being asked. For example, most people donít get personally invited to a city council meeting. Yet, everyone has a civic responsibility to stay informed and the best way to make that happen is by attending the meetings in person.

But if you are unsure of where to go or what to do during the meeting, seek out someone who attends regularly. Just like people being asked to join something, people like to be asked to help others.

Whether it is climbing up a mountain, learning how to change a flat tire or offering to take someone to the voting booth, we all benefit by passing along our passions.

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