A few years ago, my oldest son, Hunter, started singing “Jingle Bells”. But instead of singing the normal verse, he started singing the one with Batman, Robin, and Joker: “Jingle bells, batman smells, robin laid an egg…”
I thought that was funny but also a little surprising because neither I nor my wife had ever taught him that verse. But if we didn’t teach him, who did?
Comes to find out he learned that song from one of his older cousins, Jay. As we dug a little deeper, we also found out that Jay had actually learned it from another cousin, Walker.
Walker doesn’t know this, but his example just changed the tune of the beloved Jingle Bells in two different households at Christmas time.
This is obviously a cute and harmless example, but it made me stop and reflect: what lessons am I teaching others? Am I setting an example that I want passed on through the generations?
It Starts with One Person
This is one of my favorite videos of all time because it shows just how influential ONE PERSON can be. It all started with one kid taking action — positive action– which ignited a chain of helpful, kind, and compassionate service.
One of my favorite parts of the video is toward the end once he starts to paint and the other kids are laughing at him, as if they were saying, “You’re wasting your time. You’re never going to make a difference.”
I know at times, I fall into that same thinking. “I’m just some dude with a couple of kids that likes to do triathlons and blog and make videos. I’m never going to make a difference.” But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
8 Billion People
Commander U.S. Navy admiral and University of Texas, Austin, alumnus William H. McRaven recently gave a commencement speech and shared a thought-provoking statistic. In our lifetime, it’s estimated that will meet 10,000 people. If we change the lives of 10 people in our life time, and those 10 people change the lives of 10 more, and so on, after 5 generations (125 years), YOU will have influenced 800 million people. If you go one more generation, you’ve influenced 8 billion (more than the entire world population).
Just pause for a moment and let that percolate…
You can count the number of seeds in the apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in the seed.
Everyone you meet is an opportunity to influence thousands, millions, or even billions. How often do you think about that?
What is Your Legacy
As you’ll see from my upcoming podcast, one of my favorite questions that I ask my guests is “What legacy do you want to leave behind?” Your legacy is what people say about you after you’ve departed this earthly experience.
I would ask you the same question: What legacy do you want to leave behind? What difference do you want to make on the world?
It starts with you.Photo by Daniel Go