Memorial Day is an excellent reminder that nothing is accomplished without sacrifice. Obviously, there is no greater sacrifice than giving one’s life for our country; but this day should also serve as a reminder to honor the tens of thousands of unsung heroes who sacrifice day in and day out to make life better for others; folks whose lives come, pass by and fade away; while there impact and contributions live on and on.
I think of my Mom who sacrificed so much for my sister and me, who instilled in me the fire and drive to dream big, to be innovative and creative, and to settle for no less than success! I remember the friend of our family who sacrifice time from his own family to act as a surrogate father; teaching me about gentleness, commitment and what it really means to serve others. Yes, and those teachers who sacrificed time to help me overcome learning and life challenges, and to give me a lifelong love for learning. I think of my grandmother who sacrificed her time and money to make sure our broken family didn’t fall apart. I think about the boss who saw something in me that I didn’t, putting his reputation on the line against much opposition by giving me unimaginable opportunities which helped mold me into who I am today, the Founder/CEO of an organization which serves over 2,000 children youth and families per year through 17 programs. This list could go on much further; there have been so many quiet heroes who made sacrifices for me. Oh my, what a humbling thought.
Having served in the Human Services field for 42+ years, I have experienced a chronology of the most amazingly dedicated, selfless, sacrificial giving individuals who went way beyond the “call of duty” to benefit others. Foster and adoptive parents are right on the top of my list; along with the people who sacrifice their ambitions to care for a mentally, emotionally or physically challenged child or family member. I’ll take a risk by saying, I think we’d be far better off by teaching our kids the value of “sacrifice” and forget worrying about self-esteem! For me, a true test of character is one’s ability to sacrifice.
Think about your own experiences, who are the individuals whose sacrifices have enriched you or your family. Who are the folks you see every day quietly giving of themselves? Plus, I know many of you are those individuals we’re talking about. You don’t hesitate to make a sacrifice, to be the difference in someone else’s life. I salute you! Society’s quality-of-life would be a morass, a cesspool of debauchery without the scales of social justice being tipped by sacrificial givers.
So, on this upcoming Memorial Day – don’t lose its meaning in the barbecues, parties and fun activities. Make a conscientious effort to not only honor those who sacrificed their lives for the peace and security of America, but also for those in our pasts and currently around us who have added tremendous value to our lives and community through their sacrificial giving.