“It’s about one life: Making a decision that he or she wants their character to be able to affect others it a positive way.” – Wade White
At the moment of our conception we all did one thing. When we draw our last breath, we will do the same thing. What is it? Impact.
My good friend Rodney Moore called me a couple of weeks after Ryan’s funeral. Rodney had a great football carrier and at one time had even suited up for the Dallas Cowboys. Just a few short weeks before his accident, Ryan had the chance to meet Rodney. He was very excited to meet him and they got a chance to talk for quite awhile. As I took Rodney’s call, tears fell down my face and the lump in my throat wouldn’t allow me to speak. Sensing what was happening to me, Rodney began talking without me saying a word. He said “Wade, I’ve been tossing and turning in bed at night, thinking about Ryan, and there’s something in my heart I want to share with you. What I’m about to tell you may not bring you joy, but it is the truth. First let me tell you that I did not want to go to Ryan’s funeral, but with this revelation, I’m now so glad I did.” He said “Wade listen to my words. Some people get a chance to live until their eighty years of age and unfortunately never leave a positive legacy. Yet your son, at the mere age of eighteen, had over 1,350 people at his funeral. Your son understood what legacy is.” Rodney was correct in that his words did not bring me joy, but they were words of truth that brought measurable comfort to me. They made an impact on my heart, and struck the match to what is now known as Measured By Character.
I pondered and processed Rodney’s profound words for months. How was an eighteen year old, who was within six weeks of graduation, not married, no career, going to high school in a town whose population was about 1800, able to have 1350 people at his funeral? How did he have such an impact? I came to realize it was defined by one word: Character.
This old Cherokee parable is a great illustration of character.
“Two Wolves”. One evening, an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “My son, a fight is going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil and portrays fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and superiority. The other is good and stands for joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied “The one you feed the most.”
Which one of these two wolves will win when you draw your last breath? It will be the one that you feed the most. People will not remember the clothes you wear, the car your drive or the house you own. They will remember the impact you leave on their life! Your impact is your legacy.