There are two types of people. Those who shovel the sidewalk snow towards their yard and those who shovel the snow onto the road. This is a perfect seasonal example of what I want to touch on today.
I've been told my grandfather Henry Grube encouraged those around him by saying, "If you feel you are giving too much, you're probably just doing your share." Very few people can say they live by such a principle.
Our responsibility to each other is not based on some sort of per-capita formula where every person gives the same amount, but rather our contribution should be based on our ability, capacity and means to contribute to the community around us.
A phenomenon that you've probably heard of called "paying it forward" has popped up locally in an odd way over the past little while. I'm not a huge fan of the following example (for obvious reasons if you know much about me) but the idea is universal. It goes something like this — a person at a drive-thru is in a giving mood or feeling quite wealthy, sometimes both. They decide not only to pay for their purchase but also for the purchase of the patron behind them in the line. They make this gesture without ever meeting or even exchanging a single word with the person.
Paying it forward begins when the next person in line (the beneficiary) passes the gesture of goodwill on to someone else entirely (the next person in line). And the cascade of smiling happy people ensues!
By the wonders of social media I can confirm, through a friend, that this trend made its way to Kamloops over the past few weeks. My friend became the beneficiary. True to pay-it-forward form she then purchased the meal of the next person in line. This chain reaction can continue indefinitely unless, of course, Scrooge (or the Grinch) get to the window and, upon discovering their good fortune, exclaim, "Sweet" and with a devilish grin, drive off.
My neighbours and I have a similar, yet somewhat less exciting, version of this concept. After a snowfall whoever makes it out to the sidewalk before the others shovels not only their section of sidewalk but the sections of sidewalk on either side.
It's the ages-old adage, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Our snow shovelling system has developed into quite a tradition. It is worth noting that the practice has over time rippled down the block.
Small positive gestures, like the two mentioned, are what really takes a group of people, parks, sidewalks, roads, buildings, etc. and turns them into a community. The interactions between people on a one-to-one basis create the true foundation for a vibrant place to live.
In Kamloops we are pretty darned good at being friendly but there is always room for improvement. Though I'm sure you've already got a few tucked in your back pocket, make your New Year's resolutions ones that are "outside" of yourself.
Make resolutions that will benefit your family, your neighbourhood and your community. Resolve to shovel not only your stretch of sidewalk but those of your neighbours — and shovel the snow towards your yard.