In my profession, it is not uncommon for me to know someone whose parent is an attorney or a judge. This may be the same for you, or maybe you know of similar situations. Do you know someone in the military whose mother or father was in the military? Maybe you know someone who is a teacher whose parent taught; or maybe a police officer whose parent was also; or a pastor, or a doctor, or a business owner? Surely, you can name an entertainer whose child is an entertainer. Many times children follow in the footsteps of their parents, good or otherwise.
For a long time, I looked at this passing of the baton from the standpoint of struggle. This made sense for someone like me. You see, I could easily see the number of obstacles in place to halt me as I pursued dreams not of my family’s business. I did not have a relative (or family friend) introducing me to this person and to that person for professional advancement. I had limited opportunities to overhear conversations for avoiding certain workplace pitfalls. They were limited because you can only be proactive when you are aware of the potential hindrance. As you know, life can be challenging. Now, add the additional component of discovering the ropes without a tangible roadmap. There are real trials and frustrations when you are the first to….do…..anything. With no mentor, how can you not see struggle? How could I not see it?
This morning, however, my viewpoint expanded. As I was sliding on my business jacket, a series of images came to mind: businesses, land, and sacrifice. I began to think about my ancestors and about the property they owned, the structures they built, the obstacles they overcame to make life better for those of us who have come afterwards. Driving to work, I thought about the times in which they lived. My thoughts grew to include the ancestors of others. I began to think in general terms. I wondered if our ancestors would weep or rejoice. It was then that I understood, on a deeper level, that every generation has a responsibility.
Before this morning, I thought that every person has a responsibility to make things better for the next generation. This is true, but it is finite. Better, after all, is subjective to an individual’s moral and ethical beliefs. It is also confined to one’s ration for another. Now, I am aware that this responsibility is bigger than one person if we truly want to leave a viable legacy for those in succession.
Who wants the best of the best; the cream of the crop; the pick of the litter?
I DO! I want it for me and for you.
“But how can we both have it,” I heard someone ask.
How can we both not?
Expand your mind to grasp the notion that we are all living at this time. We are a generation, living. Epidemics kill because we are connected. Blessing multiply because we are connected.
Individually, we are each a part of a larger whole. Our responsibility as individuals, as with our ancestors, is now and will be bigger than our sole selves. Our ancestors understood this, many giving their lives for this truth. Many cultures understand this, many passing down belief systems that emphasize its importance. So here, today, I wonder……how many of us get it.