Kids love trains. I mean, who doesn’t? Especially the old school steam trains with smoke stacks and the classic whistle. Anyone who has made the trek over the mountains to California can fondly remember counting the train cars long before the the days of the iPad. Heck, many of us have sat on Virginia Street as the trains flew by. Well, before the trench went in, that is. For whatever reason, the love of trains is simply in our blood.
Every year up in Portola there is an incredible train festival, Portola Railroad Days, where you can take the kids out to the train fields and ride real trains around the track and get up close to these metal giants. The experience is unreal for the little ones and adults alike. It really is a fantastic experience.
After walking around all the massive trains, climbing on them, going inside, and taking rides we were ready to go inside for a breather. Low and behold the most massive model train collection I’ve ever seen! The kids were in love with these toys trains magically running around the track with sounds and lights in an entire miniature world. The boys were in heaven. They just wanted to ask questions and take a look and be part of this new experience.
In today’s age, hobbies like this are far and few between. With video games and TV and other immediately fulfilling modes of entertainment, old-school hobbies like these are losing in the competition for attention. One of my warmest and most loving memories growing up is building a model train with my dad and little brother.
Imagine my disappointment when the owners operating the trains at the Portola railroad festival wanted very little to do with the children. I’m not trying to be demean these guys or the festival, but I felt that these older men had a great opportunity to share their passion with this young generation, to maybe inspire the kids to become even more interested in trains than before. To maybe even partake in a hobby that cannot possibly be expanding with ambassadors such as these. The opportunity was missed.
So, to the point of my article: share your hobbies with the kids, even if they aren’t your kids. Take every opportunity to pass your passions on, to be the best ambassador of your hobby that you can be. You got your start somewhere, someone shared their passion with you – pay it forward for the sake of your hobby, for the sake of the kids.
Also, get up to Portola for the festival. You won’t regret it.