“It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.” George Washington
Amid the daily routine and struggles, it can be hard to believe, or even imagine, that our conduct can affect more than ourselves, and maybe our kids.
Have you ever considered the possibility that your influence can be "co-extensive with the world?" Do you believe you can make a difference for our country, and even "stamp political happiness" on "ages yet unborn?" Is it your "highest ambition" to "extend [your] views beyond [yourself] " and "bear in mind" the immense influence your conduct may have?
George Washington's life is an eloquent, even unbelievable, example of the power in his counsel. Who could have imagined the influence this rural farmer from Virginia would have on countless millions over the years? What was his secret?
I believe he shares the source of his influence in a letter he wrote to his wife, Martha (whom he affectionately refers to as “Patsy.”) Dated June 19, 1775, the letter tells Patsy his feelings about being appointed as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army:
“You may believe me, my dear Patsy, when I assure you, in the most solemn manner that, so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every endeavor in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the family, but from a consciousness of its being a trust too great for my capacity....
“But as it has been a kind of destiny, that has thrown me upon this service, I shall hope that my undertaking is designed to answer some good purpose....I shall rely, therefore confidently on the Providence, which has heretofore preserved and been bountiful to me, not doubting but that I shall return safe to you.”
Although he felt inadequate, George Washington relied confidently on the providence of God to make him equal to his challenges and opportunities.
What a powerful example for us as we face the challenges of our day!