Define your legacy
By Lt. Col. Eric Cathey, 366th Medical Group Dental Squadron commander / Published December 01, 2009
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Every man, and when I use the word man I'm speaking of the whole human race; but, every man has his own responsibility in life. No man knows the riddle of the universe. It has been the eternal puzzle. The great minds of our world have experimented and continue experimenting in their desire to grapple with all the facts that sustain the universe and its mysteries.
The things of this world have become common because most of them have been revealed as far as we know; but, there are uncommon things even on earth today and much so in the universe that we may search after and make use of as we make use of things today brought to us through the probing genius of other men who saw the need for more, searched for it and brought it to mankind.
Edison saw the need for more light and he brought about more brilliant electricity. Stephenson saw the need for more speed and brought the rapid moving engine with its steam. Fulton saw the need for more river transportation and quicker speed and he brought his steamboat.
As men have come before you and discovered many things, gravitation, the fixed positions of the stars, the regular movements of planets, and such hidden facts, you may in your search find out new truths upon which our civilization, your family and friends may progress.
Carry therefore always an observant eye and an analytic mind. Never rest with your limited knowledge of the world, but seek to find other knowledge with which you may be able to lift yourself and others far above that which has been attained or accomplished. You may suddenly stumble upon some truth for which the world is waiting. It matters not who, what rank or social status a person is, when you discover a truth for which mankind is in need or searching, you will become a hero and immortal.
Try to grasp at immortality in leaving behind a never dying name or a legacy. Define your Legacy. Webster defines legacy as a gift by will; or, something received from an ancestor or predecessor from the past. Mother Theresa the 1979 Nobel Prize Laureate and leader of the missionaries of charity chose her legacy to serve the poverty of poor people.
I first realized the power and impact on life a legacy could have during the difficulties I experienced registering for my first year of dental school. Difficulties marked by financial disbelief when the college bursar official asked me to immediately pay the first semester tuition of $10,500. I completely lacked the funds, information and knowledge required to matriculate as a new dental student. I watched my classmate Allen registered effortlessly; almost as if he had been there before. Later to find out, that his father and his father's father attended the same dental school; thus, an educational legacy, filled with financial backing and knowledge was established in their family.
This should be the policy of mankind, to live for something to hand down to a son or daughter, a grandson or granddaughter, a friend, an Airman, institution or the world. Have a purpose and always keep it in view with the hope of achieving it in the fullest satisfaction of oneself. Be not aimless, drifting and floating with the tide that does not go your way. Continue always in the application of the things you desire for your career, educationally, culturally, or otherwise, and never give up until you reach the objectives.
Realize that your legacy is passion driven. When passion is aligned with vision, the venture becomes authentic. So regardless of the struggles involved, when the going gets tough, and it always does, passion can sustain the team. Ask yourself what legacy you want to leave not only for your life but for generations to come and build a foundation to institutionalize principles that will enable continuous improvements.
Finally, reprioritize your family-your nuclear family as well as your extended intergenerational family. Am I suggesting using family as a strategy to revitalize passion for life and your legacy? Absolutely! Our greatest happiness and deepest disappointments are found in our family lives; thus, I'm convinced that the most significant work each of us will do is within the four walls of our house.