How important is your dash?

leadership legacy

A while ago, my family and I visited my aunts and cousins in Ohio. It was the first time that both sides met one another. My kids had a blast getting to know people they had only heard about in stories.

While we were in Ohio, we decided to do a college tour for my daughter. During our tour, we were blessed to attend services at the on-campus chapel. The priest shared the following poem during his homily:

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

 By Linda Ellis, Copyright © Inspire Kindness, 1996,

This wonderfully written piece got me to thinking about “the dash” that will be on my tombstone.  I often think of the legacy I will leave my children and what they and others might say about me during my eulogy.

I am not perfect.

I should be less quick to anger, spend less time on work and more focused time with family.

I write a lot about leadership, but I am not always successful in leading myself. I work harder than most at treating others with respect and showing them their own importance.

I am mostly happy with the person I am, but as a leader in my home, in my community and in my business, I will be more thoughtful about the strength of the dash that will be on my tombstone. How about you?

1 thought on “How important is your dash?”

  1. Heather,
    This one is so thought provoking. I attended to funerals in one day a couple of weeks ago in Pueblo for cousins. Both of their “dashes” were full. Thank you for all of your writings, they are so wonderful.


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