I used to tell my step-son when he was younger that it didn’t cost us anything to be kind to people.
It’s a sentiment I still believe in years later. However, the reality of not sharing the kindness we have to give to others is how it can cost others.
What I saw in Haliburton on Saturday was community pride realized.
There was recognition of achievement and of commitment to sport and to life, but there was something even more profound in action that day. There was a sharing of love and hope for a new day. To remember more than the past, but to recognize the builders, the committed, the determined, the proud and to show the way to inspire others to achieve.
From the mural unveiling showing Olympian Lesley Tashlin and the Highlands’ first pro football player Taly Williams, and to the Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony for the class of 2021, which included Michael Bradley, Glen Dart, Cody Hodgson, Donald Beverly “Joe” Iles, Marla MacNaull, Bernie Nicholls, Ron Stackhouse, Tashlin, Anna Tomlinson, Jake Walker, Williams, Linda Brandon, A.J. LaRue, Lenny Salvatori, the 1934 Haliburton Huskies, the 1956-1957 Minden Monarchs, the 1970-1971 Haliburton Junior D Huskies, and even with the retirement of West Guilford Baptist Church’s pastor Brian Plouffe in West Guilford, it’s all rooted in recognition. The message: I see you for your contribution and value you and your efforts.
It was clear from the tears that were shed by Williams and Tashlin how much it meant to them that the community they have always called home showed their pride for their achievements.
The idea that this change was the result of actions by J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School students to lead the way wasn’t lost on either of them.
Taly remembers feeling passed over, but felt it wasn’t something he needed to ever bring up, as he had accepted the consistent sleights. Except for the JDHES students this wasn’t acceptable to them.
“But what these 12 and 13-year-olds taught me is that it may not matter to you Taly, but it matters to us. I’ve learned that over the past year that it matters to a lot of other people too,” he said, holding back tears.
The importance of the future resting the next generation came up the at the Hall of Fame ceremony held a few hours later where high school seniors Brooke Stover and Jackson Wilson were given the opportunity to speak, making a point about the importance of seeing examples of success.
“All of our Hall of Fame inductees today are examples of working together for shared common goals we can be stronger as a community team and support one another to pursue and achieve big dreams together,” Stover said.
We need more of this. It shouldn’t only be reserved to the exemplary though. We all need to execute this in our own daily lives. It’s important to recognize the givers, whether they are pillars of the community, or even the unsung heroes in our lives who give their time and their love to bring joy or just a helping hand.
There is a value to giving a kind word or recognition with even something as simple as a nod of approval. We all need validation sometimes. We all need to be seen. We all need each other. It is within us to give even when we feel we have nothing to offer others. Be open to it and make the decision to share what really doesn’t cost us very much, but means so much to others, to this community.
Love really is all around us … except when it isn’t. Share what we all have and we’ll attain a greater place for everyone and a community we can all be proud to call home.