The year 2013 has come and gone. We have a new year in front of us with, hopefully, personal resolutions to lead healthier lives, practice more balanced lifestyles, and trim our budgets and live on less; and if we are wise we always resolve to be better role models to our children and grandchildren, and more responsible members of our community. If enough of us make common positive resolutions, they become collective resolutions impacting how we behave as a community; and how we behave as a community becomes our legacy.
At whatever decade of our individual lives we find ourselves, whether we’re 20 or 40 or 60 or beyond, it’s important that we consider how we choose to behave. Our behavior as we travel from young adulthood, through the stages of maturity, and into our older years becomes what we leave behind, the model our children emulate, the mold they will grow into.
Big Walnut folks already have a head start in the positive legacy department. There’s a deeply rooted tradition in this community of educating our children, of being here for each other, of taking care of our own, which erases barriers found in many other communities. There’s a sense of wholeness in this community, a sense on oneness.
During levy and bond issue campaigns we often hear the term Eagle Pride. The term is used in a much broader sense than pride in our various athletic teams’ achievements in competition. Eagle Pride goes to the very core of how Big Walnut folks choose to behave as individuals, as families and as a community.
Behavior is always a choice. Most of the negative behaviors we wish to change about ourselves are the result of serial small choices we made along the way. Those small choices accumulated until we mistakenly believe that that is how we are and this is how life is.
The early 20th century Christian writer Emmet Fox said that we could have anything that we can imagine, make any change in our lives, if we have the consciousness for it; and anything for which we do not have the consciousness we either cannot have, or we are destined to lose. It’s the consciousness we have to seek.
Fox said that: “Our lives are … the result of the kind of thoughts we have chosen to hold.” The important word here is chosen. He goes on to remind us that: “Our free will lies in our choice of thought.”
In short, Fox said we are free to shape our thinking, and our thinking shapes our individual lives. When enough of us choose to think in the same way we shape our world. And it’s not that we can collectively change the world with our thoughts, we do change it.
The outer world is, in Fox’s words, “… amenable to man’s thought. He has dominion over it when he knows it.”
Fox used the word plastic. He said that the world is “… naturally plastic to our thought” I like the careful choice he made in using the word plastic. It means: “Capable of being molded or modeled.” Fox also reminded us that: “There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.”
We have a new year in front of us, we live in unsettling times, the tasks in front of us will be, at best, challenging. Our response to those challenges, exhibited by the small day-to-day choices we make in our thinking, will produce form in the world and become our legacy.