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Leadership and Legacy

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I recently made a trip to Colorado to see my children and grandchildren and meet my great grandson for the first time. The first night I was there, we went to my daughter’s home for dinner. After we finished eating, she asked me to tell several of our family stories. As I did, she recorded them so that my great grandson, Everette, and others would be able to hear them when they wanted to.

My father said that “you’re alive as long as they tell stories about you.” There I was telling stories about him and my mother and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and cousins. I even slipped one in about my great great grandfather.

Whether you’re a mother or a father or a leader your most important legacy is the stories.

Put Not Your Faith in Honors or Monuments

Captain James Westley Ayers was killed in Vietnam. He was my commanding officer and a superb leadership example. He affected many lives, including mine. The Marine Signal Intelligence School confers the “James W Ayers Honor Graduate Award.” That’s great. But it’s no match for the stories that those of us who knew the man tell each other whenever we get together.

My uncle Jack was the first full-time paid police chaplain in the United States. He served the Albuquerque NM Police Department. The law enforcement building there is the Reverend John A. Price building. That’s great. But it’s no match for the stories. I suspect that most people going in and out of that building today don’t have any idea who my uncle was. Those of us who knew Jack have a vast fund of stories about the man and pastor he was.

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