For the love of reading; Passion is contagious!


Have you ever wondered why some people burn an indelible impression in your mind and others you forget the minute they walk out the door?  Have you ever wondered why some conversations leave a lasting mark and make an impact on your life and others are gone with the wind? Why is it that our interactions with people at all levels vary so widely? What is that secret ingredient that makes the difference between a lasting impression and one you can’t wait to forget? I’m here to suggest to you that that secret ingredient is PASSION. Passion is what sets apart the mundane from the extraordinary. Passion is the fuel that can keep us going no matter what the climate. Passion is defined as: any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. It is Passion that can make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

I want to share with you a story of how someone’s passion helped to impact my families lives. I want to share with you the story of Shirley from Chapters and how she made a difference in our lives with her passion.

One of our family traditions is bedtime reading. We have read to our kids prior to bedtime since they were infants and continue to do so now that they are 9 and 11 years old. My 9 year old daughter has become quite the voracious reader and has managed to power through her massive collection.  She has read through most of her age appropriate books several times and will often finish them in a single sitting. She even finished a complete set of her older brothers books as well. it had become evident that we needed to get her some more challenging reading and for several nights I promised to take her to Chapters to find some new books.

So we finally get a free evening and all three of us head off to Chapters to see what we can find. Once we get to Chapters we head straight to the kids section and find the fiction area for ages 9-11 and start perusing the shelves. I start pulling books that I think she might like. After a few minutes of being told that she has either read the ones I have selected or that they look ‘boring’, I decide professional help is going to be required. I wander down the aisle looking for some assistance expecting to find some disengaged teenager who will simply point me back to the aisle we have already browsed.  Much to my delight, instead, I found Shirley, a woman in her late 50’s or early 60’s with a giant smile and more than eager to assist. Shirley starts on the same path as I did and heads to the age appropriate section with my daughter and soon finds the same thing I did.  Recognizing quickly that M was obviously looking for something a little more stimulating she moves to the ‘teen’ section and immediately selects a title called ‘The Book Thief’. She quickly goes on to describe the story for both me and M to see if A) I feel it appropriate and B) if M thinks it is interesting.

She starts by describing Leisel, the main character who is “a young girl of about your age living in a time in the late 1930’s in war torn Germany”. She goes on to describe the story of Leisel living with her foster parents and having a hard time adjusting, has nightmares about her mother and brother. Hans, her foster Father comes to her every night to sit with her until she can finally fall asleep. Leisel had stolen a book called ‘The Grave Diggers Handbook’ from her brothers graveside. Hans begins teaching Leisel to read and her love of reading becomes her solace. In a time when books are being burned and any documentation is very closely censored, books are hard to come by. Leisels passion for reading leads her to steal books from a home where she delivers laundry for her mother. The passion and enthusiasm that Shirley described the book had both me and my daughter rapt. We decided to take the book for M and I then turned my attention to C to assist him find a suitable book for him to purchase. After about 5 minutes with C I came back to the aisle where we had left M only to find to my delight that she could not wait any longer to start reading this book and had sat down on the floor in the middle of the aisle and started reading.

I had to find Shirley and share with her the impact that her enthusiasm and passion had made on my daughter. When I showed her where M was her face lit up, she turned to me, smiled and said “This is what makes me come back every day”.

Passion is contagious. What is it that gets you fired up day after day? What is it that keeps you coming back? Find a way to share your passion and you will live the kind of life you have always dreamed as well as making an impact on others and fueling their passion. Every interaction we have on a daily basis has the potential to change lives. Share what you are passionate about and inspire someone today.

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