Responsibility for the Next Generation- What are we going to do?
We hear stories of people coming out from the lowest places to do amazing and wonderful things in life. But we also know some people who grew up with a “silver spoon” in their mouth and was just as successful as the person who came from nothing. What this tells me is finances, notoriety and influence doesn’t have nearly as much affect on where we end up in life than things such as: drive, commitment, diligence and sacrifice. Money can provide more opportunities, but more opportunities do not guarantee success. What does guarantee success is never giving up. Every person who has found success in life has also found failure. The difference between someone who has failed and someone who has succeeded is the person who succeeded kept going after they failed. If you want to make something of yourself, then do it!
After learning about the life my dad grew up in and then seeing where he brought himself, I feel a great responsibility to do something impactful and important with my life. If he can come out of the worst situation and do the amazing things he did, how much more can I do? He set the standard high, but he also elevated where I get to jump off from. I don’t want to outdo what he did, I want to build upon what he did! The standard he set is encouraging as well as challenging. I have no excuse for not finding success.
One of the most encouraging things about learning my dad’s roots is I got to see the before and after. He came from nothing and made himself a success. The success was not overnight. Nor was the success a pleasant process. I got to see where he came from and what he pulled himself away from. Even at that point in his life when he wasn’t following Jesus, God had His hand on my dad and partnered with him to put in a place to allow my dad to succeed. My dad should have gone to Vietnam and fought in a war where so many people died. But, he was plucked out of line and sent to Hawaii. There, he found Jesus, quality friends and a calling from God. He knew there had to be more to life than begging for money on the corner in New Jersey. He knew there was something better than going to bed not knowing if he would get a meal the next day. He knew there was something better, even if he didn’t know exactly what it was. He took a leap of faith and risked everything for the opportunity for something better.
The question becomes, “what am I going to do with this knowledge?” I know I can’t keep it in my back pocket as a cool story about my dad. With information comes responsibility. With the information I learned about my dad and his family, I have a responsibility to partner with God and make my life matter.
No matter where you are at in life, you are there because someone sacrificed on your behalf. A parent, grandparent, friend, mentor. Someone before you set the standard for you, challenged you and sacrificed for you, so that you could have a better opportunity at success. However you define success, you need to find the standard set for you, and then work to build upon it. I don’t want my dad’s legacy to die, and it won’t as long as I build upon what he worked hard for. It is my responsibility as a child, the next generation, to not take for granted what the generation before me sacrificed for.
Much of what I have shared over the last few days had little to do with money. Most of my dad’s story comes from a choice and sacrifice. Both of which can teach me a great deal about life and success. Money will never guarantee success. The only thing money can guarantee is an opportunity. But opportunities do not always lead to success. What leads to success is drive, commitment, diligence and a willingness to do what it takes to win. My dad won in life. He came from a difficult situation, financially and with family, and chose to do whatever it took to make something of his life and to improve his situation. The choices he made during that time is what I can learn from and implement in my life. Because of the sacrifices my dad made, I have the opportunity to add an additional element to my life; financial success. When my mom and dad got married, they still did not have a lot of money. But with what money they did have, they provided for their children, improved themselves through schooling and consistently worked. As my brothers and I grew up, my mom and dad became more financially stable, and then successful. My brothers and I got to see and go through this transition with them which helped our development.
In my life I am going to build on what they worked so hard for. I have experience and knowledge and I can take the drive my dad developed and use that same passion in whatever I put my hand to. I have no excuse. I have a great responsibility and it lies with remembering where my parents came from, where my brothers and I came from and the process of how we got to the place we are at today. None of it was easy. Trials and struggles were around every corner, but they are simply hurdles when you are keeping your eyes on the finish line. Don’t get caught up with the obstacles around you right now. Check the horizon and keep your eyes and your life fixated on the finish line. The final result is what matters.