Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. On this week’s edition, read about what I hope people say when I die.
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in my local community. It was a great opportunity to connect with some local residents, politicians and even saw several of my colleagues there. As a part of the program, several MLK pieces were read at the event. My favorite piece from Dr. King Jr. that was read came as an excerpt from one of his sermons called “The Drum Major Instinct” and it goes…
“…Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator--that something we call death.
We all think about it and every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think about it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself what it is that I would want said and I leave the word to you this morning.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long.
Every now and then I wonder what I want him to say.
Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize--that isn't important. Tell not to mention that have 300 or 400 other awards--that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right and to walk with them. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to, say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.
And all of the other shallow things will not matter.
I won't have any money to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that is all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a well song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain.”
This sermon is so powerful to me because it speaks to what truly matters in life. At your funeral, they will talk more about how you made others feel and less about what you accomplished. Although I am grateful for every honor I have achieved, I see them as mere platforms to make a new impact. The sermon really got me thinking…what will my legacy be when I die?
What I hope is that the opportunities I have been given become a symbol of hope for others to want to try. What I hope is that I challenged others to be better than what they believe is possible. What I hope is that I inspired people to do good in their community.
The timing of this for me has been all too real because I just lost my Aunt Denise last Thursday. She was a wonderful woman who everyone would say was passionate about her work, loving to all, and a non-judgmental soul. Her co-workers and supervisors would say that she was a great worker but more importantly, they would say she was a great woman.
Moral of the story: What will be your legacy when it is all said and done? What do you hope that people will say about you?
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
For more Classy Gent Chronicles blog post, be sure to visit https://www.authorjon.com/blog
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.