How did you get into diving? Or more specifically, who got you into diving? You’re a diver either because someone took you by the hand and led you to an instructor, or you found an instructor who nurtured your interest. Maybe it was a bit of both or someone else helped you along, but no matter how you slice it, we’re all divers because someone shared diving with us. They opened the door, encouraged us and made us feel welcome. Even if we were already interested thanks to the internet, television, cinema or whatever, to some to extent (usually to a large one) diving was (and is) a gift.
IMO, it’s a gift we should share. American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” I added the emphasis because this absolutely describes diving. As I’ve said here before, diving reshapes lives, alters perspectives and changes attitudes. Thanks to this, some of us become teachers who help shape a rising generation that will preserve the seas. Others of us combat climate change and restore coral damage. Through diving we experience healing, and last year, the world watched divers spearhead a massive effort to save 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. Longfellow was right; when we give diving by inviting others into our ranks, we are often giving far more than we imagine.
And, unlike many things today, diving is uncontroversial. People are hungry for enlightening experiences, new friendships and ways to contribute meaningfully. Diving is a gift because it’s not just an invitation into a wonderous world that feeds this hunger, but because it’s inclusive, not divisive. We become divers without swinging our political outlook, joining a cult or endorsing a new world order. It brings us together regardless of differences, which makes sharing diving so easy I’m astounded when divers don’t do it. But, as Lemony Snicket says in the children’s book Shouldn’t You Be In School?, “Hungry people should be fed. It takes some people a long time to figure this out.”
We don’t need to figure this out; we just need to make the effort to do it. When we wax eloquent about our dives at the water cooler, post underwater images on social media, update others on the latest AWARE event, etc., all we have to do is put it out there: “You’ll love it – come meet my instructor.” “Check out this link. Awesome underwater shots.” “How ’bout lunch? We can drop by my dive shop after.” If you’re already an instructor, it’s even easier: “What are you doing (whenever)? You can try it (or get started).” You get the idea.
English stateman Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Or lives. Make a point of giving diving to others.
Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO