I always have loved Memorial Day for a lot of reasons. The most obvious being what it represents and the ultimate sacrifice that our military makes each and every day for people they don’t even know. The other obvious one being the “official start to summer”. It’s always that time of year that summer becomes more real and people start to enjoy the outdoors a little more. I really think people have more fun in the summer. That’s an entirely different discussion.
What I want to key in on is another meaning to me that I have started to really get consumed by in the last few years. That meaning is the “memorial” or “legacy” definition of the day. In other words what would people say if you were gone today. I think having kids has caused me to focus more on what I am leaving behind for them and I’m not talking about “things”. My mind has been buried on what meaning to their life am I leaving for them. Every day we dictate that meaning ultimately.
I was fortunate to be raised in a family that gave me a lot. By that I mean they gave me values, character, work ethic, integrity, love and the list can go on for a while. You get that. I am very thankful for that too. Along those same lines I know that it’s my obligation to pass these same family legacy traits on to my kids. I also look at it that it’s my job to continue to raise the bar for this legacy. My job is to build on what my grandparents left and my parents are leaving still. To just ride their coattails is not the goal. Raising the bar is the only option. That’s what has consumed me. It’s the big picture to life in my opinion. It’s not the crappy stuff you leave behind. It’s the legacy of how you live life and your purpose you serve behind that which really serves the next generation.
My challenge to you out there is to look at what you are preparing to leave at some point. One, have you ever thought about it? Two, have you made a decision to be intentional with it? And lastly, what are you doing on a daily basis to make it happen? I would say most people haven’t answered even one of these questions. Most people are more concerned about their cars, clothes, social circle, kid’s club sport team and what they LOOK like to other people around them. At the end of the day these things don’t matter on your deathbed. Am I wrong? Heck no I’m not. That crap doesn’t matter. It may matter in the present moment for some superficial reason but in the long game it’s a waste of time and resources. What have you built for your kids? What standard have you set? What will they remember you as? Are you a bad-ass SOB in life or are you a member of the herd just trying to survive day to day and bitching about it along the way?
I would say most people raise their hand to the second one. I hope that you are honest with yourself and when you do raise your hand to that one it bothers you. I hope it stirs something up in you that you start to shift focus to the things that matter. Not just to you but to the people closest to you. Be the one that raises the bar in your home, at work, with your friends or wherever the heck you are. You were put on this earth to do exactly that. Not to follow the herd. The herd is going down a dead-end road with a cliff on the end. Pave a new path. You owe it to yourself and more importantly to the people around you. Raise the bar.
That’s the legacy/memorial I want to leave. I raise the bar with my values, discipline, worth ethic, character, integrity, love, service, faith and leadership every single damn day. It’s a decision. It’s not easy but my kids will be better adults because of it. They will contribute great things to society. My wife will be better for it. My brothers and parents will be better for it. My businesses and the people they impact will be better for that reason too. It’s why I’m willing to toe that line every day of being terrified of that next step but excited as hell about it. Raise the bar. Set a new standard. Be the example. Be a bad-ass at this life thing. Who cares what other people think. Your family needs you to step up. You get one life so don’t wasted it being scared. Step up. You can literally start tomorrow morning. Just make the decision to be memorable.
Happy Memorial Day.