Our story begins on a sunny Sunday morning in the heart of spring. As Ryan and I quickly shuffled two small children across the parking lot of our church, we ran into a lovely couple who thoughtfully offered to help us haul our load.
We spoke of the weather, the craziness of Lent, and our plans for Easter. And then, as if Divine Providence intervened, the conversation turned to the upcoming week.
“Got anything fun planned?” the sweet woman asked as she helped me carry our “church survival kits.”
“Oh, just getting ready for Ryan to go out of town, again,” I answered frantically. “He’s working next week at a Gold mine about three hours away.”
And this intelligent, educated woman, turned my way and said the words that would change my life: “Oh! I didn’t know we still mined for gold!”
The statement may seem mundane and insignificant, but for me it solidified something I hadn’t really believed up until that point: people have no idea about how much their world is dependent on mining!
As we carted our brood into the church that morning, Ryan simply nodded and smiled. He had heard dozens of statements like this one over his fifteen years in the industry. And with each international voyage, he would come home with yet another story of an encounter with someone’s opinion on mining. For a bit, I honestly thought he was exaggerating. But on that sunny spring morning, I knew he was right: most people had absolutely no understanding of mining.
Opinions varied from total ignorance, to confusion (oh! You mean data mining!), and even to the inevitable negativity (do you know that mining is killing the environment?!). And with each trip home, Ryan became more and more disheartened.
He had just obtained his Masters in Mineral & Energy Economics (an MBA focused for the natural resource industries), but he felt discouraged. He wanted to teach the world about the industry he had grown to love. He wanted to point people towards the many benefits of mining, while having thoughtful dialogue about how the industry could improve, take better care of the environment, and subsequently change the world.
We brainstormed all sorts of ideas. “You could start a blog! You could create a YouTube channel!” But nothing seemed right. Nothing seemed to best utilize Ryan’s gifts, and certainly no idea could be accommodated with his ever-shrinking time availability.
And then one night, an idea emerged. We had just started reading chapter books to my oldest son, Leo (who was three at the time). As I sat and read the latest book from the Magic Tree House series (a historical fiction series for young readers), my head perked up. My mind started racing to the point I had completely lost focus on the story I was reading to my son.
“Mommy! Why did you stop?” Leo’s words echoed through the room, but I couldn’t even respond.
In an instant, I realized two things. One, I knew exactly how Ryan could teach the world about mining. And two, I knew I had a role to play, too.