Life is a series of choices. One of the most important decisions we’ll ever make is the choice about the kind of person we want to be.
If we were to die today, how would we be remembered? Would we be remembered as:
- a campfire who everybody gathered around for light, insight, & warmth?
- a bright ray of sunshine who was fun & made everybody laugh?
- a family member who didn’t value, love, or appreciate other family members?
- a raging lunatic who everyone saw as a walking time bomb?
- a person who was always there to offer encouragement?
- someone who showed hospitality and made everyone feel welcomed, loved, and included?
- a selfish person who made everybody feel stressed, unvalued, & miserable?
- a mediocre or timid person too scared to take risks?
- a source of comfort and strength for the broken?
- an arrogant, exclusive, snobby person who made others feel unwanted or beneath them?
- a source of loving encouragement who made others feel they could truly do something remarkable with their life?
- a big ball of energy who loved life & everyone made great memories with?
- a person who made promises but rarely kept their word?
- a person who sucked the life out of others?
- a person who was helpful and hardworking?
- a person who was a negative influence, bad role model, or who encouraged or enabled sin, poor decisions, or addictions?
- a materialistic person who put money & possessions before relationships?
- a flaky person with no stability or follow through?
- a person who caused drama or pitted family members against each other?
- a person of great moral character who others could depend on and learn from?
- a person who was too busy to genuinely care?
- someone who took the time to love others back to life after hardships?
- a person who made mistakes, but changed it all one day to become a person who greatly loved & honored others?
When I was a senior in highschool, I had the best family relations teacher. She didn’t just teach from the usual curriculum, she branched out and taught from resources she knew would be genuinely useful to us in life.
One of those resources happened to be a video series from Dr. Gary Smalley.
As I watched and intently listened to each fantastic video, one stood out. It was a teaching on showing great Honor to others.
Dr. Smalley basically said to treat each person as though they were the only person in the room…and to not just stop there but to treat your loved ones better than royalty—to be in absolute awe and wonder that you get the incredible, precious privilege of being a part of each of your loved ones lives.
He also shared that it starts with just one person choosing to show their loved ones honor. It wasn’t contingent on anyone or anything else.
I grew up in a home where we were very close and loved each other. Both of my parents were great role models to me on how to show others honor, and Dr. Smalley’s video made an incredible impact in my heart and life, too.
I began to realize how everything I did in life—and especially how I treated my loved ones—had the powerful ability to affect everyone I (and they) came into contact with.
Family. Friends. Co-workers. Church family. Neighbors. The employees at businesses and restaurants I frequented…Everyone.
With each interaction I had, I could leave people in much better condition if I treated them with great honor, or worse condition if I chose differently — all depending on my attitude and honor.
I began by purposely treating my family better. I’d stop by after school and buy my mom one of her favorite treats…a flavored bagel with honey & almond cream cheese, or I’d surprise her with flowers “just because.” I’d go out of my way to be kind to my siblings and make them homemade cards or bake them treats. I’d randomly treat my friends to ice cream, write them a note to encourage them, or pay for their lunch. If I ordered food from a fast food reastaurant, I’d go out of my way to be nice and ask the worker how their day was. I told all of my teachers, “Thank you,” for all they had taught (and were teaching) me and began to listen in class as a way of honoring their hard work and time they were investing in me. I’d surprise my dad by mowing the lawn, do my mom’s hair and makeup for her, or go grocery shopping to help out. With my mom’s encouragement and help, I’d also buy my teachers gifts around each holiday. I began to look forward to honoring others and doing special things for loved ones.
With every choice I made to honor others, the better I felt. Life became much more rewarding and I felt I was making a difference. It was an amazing feeling to know I could bring others happiness or brighten their day. Honoring others felt much better than being shallow or selfish.
After the video series, my teacher asked each of us, “How do you want to be remembered?” She explained she gave us some great information, but the info on the videos would only prove to be valuable if we chose to implement it. Ultimately, we needed to decide if we would choose to be an honorable person who chose to honor others as a lifestyle.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to Mrs. W. for pouring into me my junior and senior years of highschool. Her investment in my life caused me to value my parents, family, and friends so much more…and this also positively impacted (in the future) my parenting and marriage. To this day, I greatly treasure my loved ones!
I am thankful for the two questions I was asked many years ago that had such a fantastic, life-changing impact:
“How do you want to be remembered?”
“How can you show great honor & love to your loved ones each day?”
We ALL leave a legacy…whether we like it or not. Whether we’re intentional or not.
We ALL are known by our personalities, passions, and choices. We ALL leave our unique personal mark…our “brand”…on EVERYONE around us.
The cool thing is, it is never too late for each of us to leave a better legacy than the one we are currently living.
Through honor, we ALL have the powerful ability to choose what legacy we’ll be leaving.
Think of who you TRULY want to be and then take the necessary steps to make it happen.
What if you feel you’ve already monumentally messed up?
Put one hand on your heart and your other hand on your mouth. Do you feel your heartbeat and your breath? If you’re still alive (which I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this😊), you still have the power to turn things around.
You may have to apologize to loved ones, make amends, create much needed change, or set some things right, but today…this very minute…you have the ability to choose to become a person of great honor who others will warmly remember.
Challenge yourself every day to grow and become a better person than you were yesterday and today, love your loved ones extravagantly while you still have the chance, and leave a legacy of great honor that is worth remembering.
That’s something I’ll always challenge myself to do.
So, today (and every day) ask yourself 3 vital questions:
“How do I want to be remembered?”
“Who can I show honor to TODAY?”
“How can I love my family/loved ones to the very best of my ability?”
One day, you’ll be remembered by your loved ones…and everyone around you.
Make your memory a great one!
Gratitude & many blessings,
©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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