When events happen like the recent one in Las Vegas, for many of us, it causes us to take time and pause, to think and reflect, to be sad, to be frustrated with a world where this can happen. What struck me was how fleeting life can be. How quickly it can all change.
We do not like to think about death. We do not like to talk about it. As you’re reading this, many of you feel a little uncomfortable. Some might feel that it is not something I should write about in a school newsletter. We all know that it happens to everyone, but for much of our lives, except when circumstances put it right in front of us, we forget about this simple fact of life and do not like being reminded of it.
So why is this the topic of my article this week? Our theme this year, “It’s Still Not About Me,” is what I would call a paradigm shift. The world every day, all around us, is saying that life is about me, what I get, what I achieve, my success, and how much money I can make. This perspective comes at us through relentless advertising that is trying to get us to buy more things. What we are trying to teach our children with our theme this year is that life is not about all of these things. There is more to life.
When we are on our deathbed we will not care about how much money we made, the power we gained, or the fame we achieved. We will care about the relationships we have had and the people we love. What will matter is whether we had an impact on the lives of those around us. Everything we gain in life will eventually rot, fall apart, and disappear. The only thing that will and can remain is what we did for other people, that because we were on this earth we in some way made it a better place, that we blessed people’s lives and made a positive difference. Simply put, your impact, how you affect the lives of those around you, is more important than any type of material success.
I am not saying that our children cannot pursue successful careers in their lives. You can make a huge difference in this world by being an amazingly successful doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. The question is, with that success will you use it for yourself (it’s about me) or will you use it to impact the lives of others (it’s not about me)? If we can help them see the importance of this question, and what the right answer is, ultimately we will be helping them pursue the path of a truly “successful” life.