Is there more at stake to the choices you make than just your future? Could you be living a life that is not of your own making? These were the questions that raced through my mind on one faithful day.
It turned out to be a mind-opening day. I was having lunch in a restaurant on a recent working trip. The waiter greeted me warmly as I went to serve myself.
He then retreated to a corner of the room, taking on the common stance that waiters assume with their hands clasped in front, a towel dangling between them.
It was as though at every moment he was observing me and asking himself what else he could do to make my lunch better and my stay more comfortable.
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I got drawn in by all this and also started to observe him. He was humble, quiet, almost making an effort not to be noticed as he stood in that corner.
His manner seemed to suggest that he was not important at that point, the customers were.
As I stared at him standing in that corner I was drawn back in time. I remembered the sacrifices my parents made in order for me to be in that position.
The changing of roles in life.
Wow ! what a change of roles. I mean, there was my parents working so hard some decades ago and doing what they could in order to make a better life for me and my siblings .
It struck me that my being in the position was a result, one way or another, of the sacrifice, dedication, love and commitment of my parents.
I also wondered as I watched the waiter what he was thinking. Was he thinking about staying in a hotel some day and also being waited on by someone? Did he ever dream of being on the other side of the situation? What were his hopes and dreams for the future? I don’t know, but I wanted to tell him that he could have any future he wanted for himself.
I wanted to tell him that he could get to the other side. It is more likely, though, that he was thinking about his family and what he could do to provide for them right there and then by working in that hotel.
As for my parents , they did turn the tables and move to the other side of the equation. How? through me, and through everyone of my family members that have a better life today because they worked hard.
Whatever kind of life we have today, they contributed to it.
The future begins with you.
I realised at that moment that we carry the dreams and hopes of the generations before us. What parent does not wish his children to have a better life than he has, no matter how good it is?
Would my parents not feel a sense of accomplishment to see their own children being able to afford to stay in a hotel and have the finer things in life? Would they not feel a sense of failure to see them suffering and struggling through life?
Eyes are watching the outcome of your life.
Remember the sacrifice and dedication shown to you by those that walked before you. Remember everyday as you make your choices in life that you carry their hopes and dreams on your shoulders.
Your parents have done what they could to make things better for you and to give you what you need to succeed. Will you make them proud or let them down? Are you building on the foundation they established or are you destroying the hard labour of their hands ?
At the same time, I realised that we carry the seed of prosperity for the generations to come after us. What you do and the choices you make will influence the kind of life your children and grandchildren will have.The reality we must face is that Your life is not really your own.
Many others are affected by it. Prosperity does not refer here to simply financial well-being. There is more to it than that. Imparting the right values, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs is all part of contributing to the prosperity of the generations after you.
After all, you can leave your children an inheritance of millions of dollars, but if you have not taught them the right attitude towards money or given them the knowledge of using it well, they will lose it all in a short time, or worse still kill themselves with the excesses of life.
The Bible advises that we “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.” Wisdom is a treasure to be passed on.
Today is all you have
There are those of you out there for whom the past generations have been a disappointment and have passed on a torch to you that was nearly burned out. They could perhaps have done better and made things a lot easier for you.
Realise, though, that you still have the power to turn things around. Your parents’ failures do not have to be your failures. Neither do you have to suffer the consequences of their mistakes forever. You have the opportunity now to make things better for those that will be after you.
Henry Ward Beecher advises that “We should so live and labor in our times that what came to us as seed may go to the next generation as blossom, and what came to us as blossom may go to them as fruit.
This expresses the true spirit in the love of mankind.” As the torch handed to us by our parents burns in our hands we should endeavour to hand it to the next generation burning even brighter. You are all you can be. Give your best to life and it will replicate same to you.