Set an Example: The Legacy of Difference!

Tue. November 25, 2008 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard

I've had an interesting dialogue over the last few weeks with a number of folks. It seems the example that one sets is still important to some. I am honestly quite surprised. This outlook is something that I've always subscribed to and yet I'm very much aware that most people don't give a rats behind (I would have said something else, but my Mom is a faithful reader of my article.) what their life's message may be saying/showing.

Back in 2000 I was hosting a group of friends at Seattle's famed Manray martini bar. At the time it was one of the brightest jewels in the Seattle LGBT scene. I was not out to many people; but wasn't hiding my orientation either. You can imagine my surprise when my eldest brother (He happens to be gay as well.) walked in with some friends. At the time, I wasn't ashamed of my life; I just didn't feel 100% ready to be known for it either.

My brother greeted me warmly and bought me a drink. With a clink of our glasses I said to him"So, I guess you know about me now." He was beyond supportive and caring. He then advised me of something I've never forgotten. "Just remember Bill, your reputation in the community reflects on me and the parents!" I completely understood what he meant. It couldn't have been any clearer! In short, my impact, attitude, and example are not only a reflection of myself; but also the people I loved.

From my prospective, I've never heard a negative word about my brother. He is well respected; devoted to his work; and committed to his partner. Many is the time that I've thought to myself; I want to be like that!

I'm one of those people who gives thought to how it looks to others , but not for the reason some would assume. I want the same things to be said about my life that are said about my brothers. I don't think it's my mission in life to make people like me, rather I think it's important that my life reflects positive choices; respectful actions; and committed stances.

How about you? No matter whom you are or what you do, people watch your life. What is it they see? What's important to you that they would know? I know that this is a lifestyle that takes daily work, but I believe its well worth it. It's your legacy we're talking about! As corny as it seems, I give great consideration to how my actions (or lack thereof,) might affect others. I have a number of acquaintances, young and old, who I hope I can be a help to. They deserve the best me I can be. I personally have gleaned so much support and inspiration from my friends. (Young and old, alike)

From nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, to co-workers and friends; our example is something that can really make a difference ! I want to challenge you to give serious thought to this. As the Thanksgiving holiday arrives, I am reminded of all the wonderful family, friends, and acquaintances I have in my life. I'm thankful for all of them! I truly hope that my life's example will impact them and the many that I have yet to meet.