In preparation for a large government session I'm leading the week of 11/3/08, I asked a recently retired / lifelong mentor of mine -- who originally helped sell and co-author the inaugural session in 2001 -- if he would mind capturing a few 'pearls of wisdom' on a digital recorder for our use in class. (After all, we'll have nearly 150 participants for four days, and his wisdom always makes a dramatically profound impact on learners who are, in some cases, forty years his junior!) I envisioned this sort of positive-Orwellian presentation where his headshot is onscreen while his rich, smooth, baritone, 'fine Corinthian leather' voice flows.
"Oh, Blake. I'm sorry; I cannot. No one would remember -- much less miss me -- I'm afraid."
Coincidentally, just this morning, I came across a box of old cassette tapes on the top shelf in my home-office closet. Among them, I eyed a 1981 recording that my father, mother, sister, and I made of my grandmother before she passed away. I played that tape with tears in my eyes. As soon as I heard her sweet voice, I could smell her sofa, taste her ice cream, and hear the chime of her great clock by the bed. I played that dusty tape for my six-year-old daughter and she WIGGED OUT. It is all she has (beyond DNA, recipes, and second-hand stories of course) to directly educate her about her grandmother.
Maya Angelou once wrote, "People may forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."
And so, to my dear mentor and all the rest of you who sometimes wonder, "Will I be remembered?" I laud you and encourage you to live the sort of life that WILL be remembered, is WORTHY of being remembered. And do this by living a life of integrity, loving others, and letting them know you do.