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The hurdle of humility

Our reporters hear something like this every week: “Oh, I don’t really want to make a big deal out of that.”

We find out about a good story, and go after it with great enthusiasm, only to come away empty. For every good story we write, another goes untold because humility stands in our way.

Small town and country folk shy away from pretentiousness. We’re a humble sort, and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Some people feel that having their stories published in the paper would come across as if they were on some sort of an ego trip. They don’t want to make a big deal of themselves.

The odd thing is, most folks usually enjoy talking to us, often at length, about their stories; however, some just don’t want theirs in the newspaper — that’s not being humble.

Humility, however, is not the same as silence. If humility equaled silence, history’s most-revered religious figures would have remained unknown. We all know of public heroes we admire, in part, for their humility.

Humility is less about silence, and more about how your stories are told. It isn’t self-promotion when we’re the ones asking to share your story. You’re not shouting “Hey, look at me, I’m a really big deal!” We’re always glad, though, when it’s a big deal to someone that we want to tell his or her story in our papers.

Our readers are your friends and neighbors. You’d enjoy sitting down with most any of them over a cup of coffee and sharing your stories, and what would happen if you did?

You’d see them smile, you’d hear them laugh, you’d feel them reach out with a comforting touch and a knowing look. You would know that you made their day a little better by giving them reasons to laugh, to think, to feel.

Telling your story humbly, whether silly, odd, heartwarming, inspiring, or informative, is a gift. It’s a gift that helps many of our older readers and those in faraway places feel a part of our community. It’s a gift to enhance the true character and charm of our area. It’s a gift to our community heritage — as the popularity of our “Memories” column shows, people love reading even snippets of stories long after the telling.

Have I managed to sweep some of that humble pie off your table? I hope so. Your stories are worth telling. With humility, we’d like the honor of sharing them. And if it takes a little coffee to pry you loose, let me know. I’ll buy.

— david colburn

Last modified Feb. 12, 2015

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