Some kids have trophies overflowing from their bedrooms. Some have none. I fell in the middle, but what a strange mixture I had. Summer camps and science fairs and track team participation were all part of the total. And I took those trophies across state lines. When I moved to PA and VA and TN, they were there. You see I wasn’t a kid of very high self-esteem. I wasn’t blessed with physical appeal, I was (am) socially awkward, and my family didn’t have money to cover-bribe all that away. So to win a 5th grade science fair, be recognized as an exceptional camper, and win a literary competition made those poorly assembled statues like Michelangelo’s “David” to me. Repeatedly, I would line them up and relive these great moments in the life of James Aaron Snow. I did not want to let them go, but growing up has taught me a hard lesson. People are impressed by what you’ve done, but they are concerned with what you are doing. As someone who has spent most of his life tending to the needs of people I realize I have to do with my life now, not just talk about what I have done 2-5-10 years ago. Over and over, I find folks smile and nod as I give my living obituary, but at the end they want to know what I am doing this week-month-year.
If I look back at 2015, even in the absence of physical trophies, I have a few “things” to cling tightly to. But I can’t do that, and neither can you. To be clear we must celebrate accomplishments, accomplishments in our lives and that of others. If we don’t, we will simply burn out because we feel we have never met a goal or brought about change in this world. Also, we cannot truly support those around us if we only seek to come alongside when they are hurting. The question though is how do we celebrate, but then move on? Being one who tinkers online a little bit, I have decided to use a hashtag. I choose this because it will allow me to post-tweet great moments in 2016 (in my life or others), but then remind me that there is no room on the mental shelf for ornamentation.
An example; One reader shared how my writings hit him in the gut and made him a better person. #NoTrophies
That’s it. Try it this month and see if it helps keeps matters in perspective. And remember; lasting present influence cannot be bought with past accomplishments.