Our Mandela Legacy

A great light has left us. A powerful voice for—and enduring symbol of—equality, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing will speak no more.

Many have and will continue to memorialize Nelson Mandela—the BBC gives a glimpse of both his public and more private stories.

The same day of his passing, I happened upon an unrelated tweet encouraging us to “die generous”.

Wouldn’t that be—not only a tribute to Mandela’s life and vision and sacrifice—but a stellar way to conduct our lives? Die generous.

Not just in our last few moments, but in all the moments between now and then.

We may not have the global impact of Nelson Mandela, but we still touch many lives. The clients we serve, our daily work-mates and all of those we encounter just living our lives: from the check-out clerk to the homeless guy holding the sign on the corner to the customer service rep on the phone.

We have the ability to transform any encounter with even a smidgeon of generosity. A smile, a small donation, a question about their well-being.

And of course, we can also decide to be generous in the big things. Making personal sacrifices to lead a challenging, but sorely needed cause. Giving our undivided attention to one who desperately needs a lifeline. Choosing forgiveness.

I like to think it would be the best tribute of all. And that Madiba would smile upon us.

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1 Comment

  • When one can touch so many — making a great difference, yes it should inspire each and every one of us to acts of kindness, acts of aid, charity, words of advice and other deeds that make a difference for another or many others. If you approach your work with that in mind, I truly believe it all circles back to you.

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