Monday, April 5, 2010

Monument or No Monument?

Photo: Taken by ME!

Hello Optimists,

If you read Friday's post you probably know that I was down in D.C. for the weekend. It was such a great time! The weather was perfect; sunny, blue skies, a cool breeze, and beautiful scenery. And they were right about those cherry really is something to see.  My sister and I probably walked about 100 miles, or at least it felt like 100 miles, but we got to see all of the monuments: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Thomas Jefferson, The White House, The Capital Building...ahh, it was great, I couldn't ask for anything better.

We knew most of the monuments purely by recognition, but there were some that we needed to get closer to so we could read up on the history behind it. It must really stink to be one of those "unknowns" that are honored with a monument- but no one knows who they really were. But hey, they're in tough company sitting along side of the greats like Washington and Lincoln, but coming up on one statue I couldn't recognize, I still found myself asking, "Hmm, Garfield. What did he do again? Garfield, Garfield, Garfield...." in an attempt to remember that history lesson from fourth grade. As I stand there gazing up at a statue of a great American president whom I couldn't remember anything about, I kept racking my brain to think of why he would have a monument.

Of course later once I got home I had to Google Garfield's bio to refresh my memory, but I did remember a good quote I once read about this very subject and I thought it would be perfect to feature for today...
After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one. -Cato the Elder 
It's kind of funny that I had just been questioning this and that I happened to have a quote about it. But I think this message can be useful for us all, not just those elected as president. It's better to be recognized in the minds and hearts of those you've touched and have no physical memorial than to have a giant statue that everyone just overlooks because they don't recognize your accomplishments. (Not that this was the case with Garfield. He certainly is deserving of a monument, but I guess I'm just not up on my U.S. history.) Anyway, we shouldn't be worried about being so great that we'll get a statue put up in our honor, but rather, that we will be so great that those who've been influenced by us will remember our gift forever and pass it on to those in their life. Don't worry about how high your monument will reach (because Washington's will win. Always.) and don't try so hard to be the "greatest" that you let the real meaning of your mission fall behind. Concentrate instead on doing what you love and what you're good at to the best of your abilities...and the recognition will come later, especially if people keep asking why you don't have a monument! But I think it's important to keep this quote in mind because it reminds us that sometimes it's better to have a place built in your honor in someone's heart and mind than out on the street- for that is one place where your impact on their "history" will never be forgotten.

Who has a monument in your heart?

Keep Smiling,

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful picture! I'm glad you had a great time in DC!

    And your reflection on monuments was wonderful :-).


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