What is it about you that people will most remember when you are gone? I love stories of individuals who leave a lasting legacy. I recently learned of a story that I just have to share with you.
At the end of August, my youngest son was inducted as an ambassador for his elementary school. They held a rather impressive ceremony where the principal had them repeat a pledge in front of the whole school and the kids received these adorable navy blue blazers with an official looking name tag. The principal made it clear that this was an extremely important responsibility.
Austin was on cloud nine afterwards. We had time to take pictures and he wanted to be sure everyone got in on the action, including the assistant principal, Mr. Pittsford.
As Mr. Pittsford knelt down for the picture, Austin commented, “I really like your tie!” Smiley faces adorned it from top to bottom.
“Thank you! I like it, too. There’s a story behind this tie.” He proceeded to let us in on this special story…one that made me wonder once again if I should try to go back to teaching.
It turns out the tie once belonged to a teacher by the name of Don Calvert. He taught and coached at our local junior high and high school for many years. Mr. Calvert was not only one of Mr. Pittsford’s teachers when he was a student himself, but he also had the privilege of working with him as a colleague.
Mr. Calvert consistently enforced three basic rules: 1. Listen up 2. Pay attention 3. Follow directions. But that alone wasn’t what made him so memorable. He was known for the fact that he wore a different tie all 180 days of the school year. When Mr. Calvert retired from teaching, he sold off his ties and donated the money to charity. Mr. Pittsford bought one of those ties and began his own tradition of wearing it the first day of school every year. He then would hang it up in his classroom as a reminder to himself of the teacher he admired so much.
In Mr. Pittsford’s own words, he said, “There is seldom a week of the school year that I don’t pull from lessons learned from Mr. Calvert.”
Although I hold a special place in my heart for the profession of teaching and the life changing impact it can have, we don’t all have to be teachers to make a lasting impression on those around us. What a humble privilege it would be to be remembered for life lessons we demonstrated to others long after we’re gone no matter how we have chosen to spend our working hours, even if it only be in our home.
“I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do or well-bred
Just want to hear instead
Well done, good and faithful one”
~Nichole Nordeman “Legacy”