Be A Good Ancestor


Be A Good Ancestor

Remember the Future As Well As the Past


This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, is a high-powered business weekend.

It’s difficult to pick up a newspaper, watch television, or listen to the radio without being overpowered with advertising. It is a wonderful holiday. We all look forward to it, but I think it deserves a bit of thought that is often overlooked.

Memorial Day is recognition of people who have died to preserve our way of life. In a real sense, Memorial Day is a funeral service. Many people feel strange saying “Happy Memorial Day.”

I don’t intend this to be morbid, but it is important to recognize the history of the Day. That recognition includes honoring the traditions and the ceremonies that mark the day.

Recently I saw two photos of men and women in military uniforms saluting the American flag. This is always a moving moment, and as we get closer to Memorial Day we’ll probably see many more such photos. Those pictures seemed to be a good idea at first glance, but upon further review, I realized the flag was displayed backwards! The blue field was in the top right corner. That’s wrong.

There are very specific rules about how the flag should be displayed just as there are rules about displaying a corporate logo. There is a right way and many wrong ways.

Whenever the flag is displayed on a wall, the blue field with the stars is placed at the top left corner. Period. No exceptions. If it is on a pole extending from a wall, the blue field is away from the wall. Remembering just those two rules will take care of most display situations. Correct flag etiquette is easy to find on the Internet in case you want a reminder when you put up your flag this weekend.

Proper display is a matter of respect, and with a little thought that respect will be evident. With improper display the lack of respect will also be evident.

Memorial Day deserves such respect not only because it’s a holiday, but also because it honors all those who died to make all our holidays possible. We have such holidays because people – our ancestors – earned them for us.

And here’s something to think about on this holiday. If we don’t honor and protect those observances, one day they could be gone. Unfortunately, if that day were to come, many people would express surprise and ask, “What happened?”

And the answer would be “’It’ happened because we let it happen.”

Now, let’s change our perspective. Rather than continuing to focus on the past and what others have done for us, for business, society, and family let’s look ahead and consider what we might be able to offer to others still to come.

I was struck by the power of a single sentence I recently read, and I think it can provide inspiration and direction for many of us. Just consider this sentence.

“Be a good ancestor.”

Let that thought roll around in your head for a while.

What does it mean for us? What can we do with that idea? What impact can it have on us?

When we look at events like those leading up to Memorial Day, it’s clear we can’t change any of them. We can benefit from them and learn from then, but we can’t alter them.

What we can control is what is to come. So here are a few things to consider as we enjoy our Memorial Day celebrations. What are we doing today that will have an impact on the lives of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? That impact might be positive or negative, but either way we’ll be responsible for it.

How are we directing out business activities, and what will our business and our world look like two or three generations from now?

When those future generations look for us on their family tree, what will they find? Will we be pleased and proud of what we did, or will we wish we had done something different? If that’s the case, do the groundwork now so you will indeed “BE A GOOD ANCESTOR.”






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