Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
I was recently contacted by a friend who lives in Waterville, Ohio. It was a unsolicited communication, but they thought I would like to know how the people of their town, their neighbors feel about me.
It stated “General consensus is (from Waterville residents) that you’re a trouble maker & drama starter. People hate you…”
It breaks my heart when such strong words are being used to describe me. It’s confusing that people can feel so strongly about myself, but the very things I point out and highlight… get a pass from their judgement.
It should be noted that I am a storyteller, a columnist, a father, a person who is simply trying to better the very place I am raising my family. My method is simple; share stories of those worthy of telling.
The thing about inspiring stories is that they often inspire others to do something. The more you share, the more you celebrate, the more good that will happen.
In a time of history where war, divisive politics, school shootings and violence dominate the nightly news and social media newsfeeds, why not look for stories and people to remind us about all the good that remains in this world, especially in our town
In the past couple of months we’ve had a 9 year-old war orphan, who’s pay-it-forward kindness has raised close to $2 million for other Gold Star children. Over the weekend a 14 year-old boy carried his brother with Cerebral Palsy, 40 miles to Ann Arbor, another magical moment that made every newspaper in North America.
Notice something in common about these two stories?
Children are doing a better job than the grown-up at highlighting and promoting the very fabric of character that defines NW Ohio and SE Michigan. Children who were raised with the very values that differentiate ourselves from our fellow Americans. These are kids simply trying to make a difference, whom are surrounded with enough love and support to actually try.
These are the stories that make living here great. Its an honor and privilege to help share them with the world.
The one thing that I will not tolerate is bullying. As rampant as it is, it’s a battle I am willing to fight. With every new heartbreaking story of a bullied child, comes the attention that could change this behavior in the future for another victim.
To those living in Waterville, Ohio that I have annoyed and offended:
99% of you are fantastic, humble, hard-working proud people. I know it is not fair that my stories have lumped you in with this other 1% of bad, it is not my intention. My suggestion is the next time a moment of ugly comes out of your area, figure out a way to make it beautiful. If you do beautiful things, your children will start doing beautiful things. When it happens… I will champion it even more than any I have shared in the past. I can’t wait to share those stories.