When I do my best to recall my earliest memories, the farthest back I can go is to a time that I would have been about two years old. My parents lived in a house on the Ohio river in a small town called Ripley, Ohio. We moved to a farm house when I was three, so I have very few memories prior to the move, but I do have a few. One of the earliest (and most bizarre) is that as a toddler I wanted a piece of cheese, but my mom had eaten the last piece. I was upset and started to whine about it and my mom playfully said that I could have it if I reached into her mouth and pull it out. She then opened up her mouth for me to try. She was sitting on the floor of the living room in the Ripley house.
I’m not quite sure how I remember this relatively insignificant event from nearly fifty years ago, but I can’t remember basic things that happened just a few days ago. A parallel that I draw from this is that you do not know what insignificant event in your life could turn out to be someone else’s lasting memory of your existence. A casual encounter could turn out to be a life-changing moment for someone, even if you don’t know it. It could be positive or negative. It could be immediate or delayed. It could be a loved one or a complete stranger. Never underestimate the impact that any moment in your life could produce.
You don’t always have the opportunity to prepare, rehearse and be at your absolute best in order to have an impactful moment. Unfortunately, you could be at your absolute worst and make an even more profound impact. It’s difficult for me to remember this in moments of frustration, weakness and anger. A positive legacy isn’t just about the value of your best moments, but it’s more about the value of all of your moments – good or bad. If all of your moments are positive, the legacy will follow.