The ultimate test of human conscience may be
the willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations.
I met an eight year old girl on the beach early one morning. As I approached her, the girl asked me what I was looking for. I told her sharks’ teeth and showed her my small handful. She showed me her handful and she offered them to me.
My encounter reminded me how innocent, curious, and generous children can be. As adults, we often become obsessed by our search to improve our collection of things and become preoccupied with fear that someone will take them from us. In the process we move faster each day and forget the joy of standing on a beach or anywhere else in nature for that matter.
Some of us are just beginning our productive years. Some of us are steaming ahead in mid-career. Others are winding down and hopefully have some time and energy left to enjoy our world. In another fifty years, our children and grandchildren will replace us at all the various stages of their own lives.
If they could write us a letter from the future, what would they have to say about the legacy we have left them? Would they thank us for finding a way to understand and accept each other rather than continuing to compete with each other? Would they thank us for finding ways to love rather than hate each other? Would they express their disappointment that we were not able to find a way to live together in harmony?
That future has not yet arrived and there is still time before such a letter is written. We have choices to make every minute of our lives. No matter where we are in our life journey, we can choose to make the world a little better place with our unique contributions. We can also choose to take whatever we want from the world without giving back in return. We can link with others in their journey through life, ignore them or hate them. We can choose the path of love and acceptance or the path of fear and intolerance.
All of our collective decisions about how to act in each circumstance which appears before us contribute to the legacy we will leave to our children, grandchildren and their descendants. Each of us can contribute to leaving a better place for those who follow us or a worse one. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of God as thinking thoughts of peace and not affliction toward us. He invites us to follow God’s example. Are you willing to do your part through the actions of your daily life?
Life Lab Lessons
- What legacy do you want to leave your children?
- What do you have to contribute?
- Start by finding peace within yourself.
- Find ways to be at peace with others.
- Choose love over fear.