Soldiers build their own legacies

| September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Koeman
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

“We’re going to the field.”

Those are words we haven’t heard much in the last 10 to 12 years, and that phrase brings all sorts of thoughts and feelings to Soldiers and families.

Besides our daily routine in the Army, it reminds us that we are in a profession that, at its core, is about closing with, and destroying, the enemy. Every unit prepares for battle, and when units go into battle, they leave legacies.

Every Soldier who has deployed, especially during the height of the surge in Iraq, has a story about the legacy he or she created. We have streamers hanging from our unit guidons that tell the story of our unit’s legacy.

Whether we like it or not, we are all building our own personal legacy. We make choices each and every day that contribute to, or detract from, a positive and honorable legacy. Some families have an aunt or uncle that everyone in the family respects. And then, we have that aunt or uncle that we don’t want to talk about.

What kind of a legacy are you building in your life? Even if you are not married, you are building your legacy now. The choices you make each day affect patterns in your life that can and will become habits.

What habits have formed in your life? Ask yourself that question. Would you want to tell your mother, grandmother or children about your habits? If not, re-evaluate why you allow that habit, or habits, to have so much control over your life.

When you are intentional about creating a positive legacy, you will make value-based, not emotional-based choices. When you are intentional about creating a positive legacy, you will look at the long-term effects and not the short-term satisfactions. When you are intentional about building a positive legacy, you experience less turbulence and uncertainty. Your marriage is stronger, your children seek your affirmation and approval, and your dog wags his tail when you pet him.

It’s easy to get caught up in our careers in the Army. It’s easy to get caught up in our own personal passions. It’s easy to get caught up in “I.” Everything in our culture reinforces the first person pronoun: “I.”

However, if you want true personal satisfaction, invest in your faith, invest in your family and invest in others. When you take yourself off the top of the list, you will be able to build a positive legacy. You will make a difference that is bigger than you. You will be pleased with the life you live and the legacy you will one day leave behind.

What legacy do you want to build?

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, Standing Columns

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