Yesterday I read about Paul McIlhenny, the former CEO of the family-owned Tabasco business. Although he recently passed away, the story was much more about the life he lived than about his death. One part resonated with me, when Paul said to a friend:
“You know, my father asked me a question when I was young,” McIlhenny said. “Now that you’re coming up in the world, I’m going to pose it to you: How are you going to use what you have to make the world a better place?” That is a good question for people of all ages to consider – and the sooner the better.
Of course I was reminded of one of my favorite books, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. As a young child, Alice Rumphius is challenged to travel the world, live by the sea, and make the world more beautiful. Like Paul McIlhenny, she lives out all of her dreams.
Which of course leads me to think, “What have I done to make the world more beautiful?” I am thankful to be the mom of two wondrous adult children who make me proud with every step they take. And I have been a teacher for so very long that I have had an opportunity to touch lives there as well. My friends support and enrich my life, and I hope I have done the same for them in return.
But as I look forward to the days ahead, I want to consider this question more fully. I will retire before too very long and I want to still be a “contributor” to my family and to the community. And above all, I hope to make the world a better, more beautiful place.