It is always a wondrous discovery to find that what is truly significant in our lives, the greatest gift we give, is not always apparent. It is not recognized.
Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod – iron furnace stove – bifocal glasses, medical catheter, electrostatic generator, library chair, swim fins, Daylight Savings Time and odometer. Franklin was among the most talented inventors in this world – past and present. He contributed to the world by giving to it his many inventions at no cost, refusing to own patents on any invention. Ben earned a lot of money, but he could have earned much more if he had patented his inventions. But he never once patented any of his inventions. He truly possessed a love for the people of this Nation. And his willingness to share his ideas for the benefit of all, and without personal gain, was proof of his tremendous compassion.
Franklin also thought about government and was one of the seven “Founding Fathers of the United States of America.”. And his greatest invention is not really given recognition. As a key founding Father of this Nation, he should be recognized for inventing something called, “The United States of America”. Thank you Mr. Franklin.
Like Ben Franklin, Thomas Alva Edison was a scientist and an inventor. The most famous of his inventions was an incandescent light bulb. Besides the light bulb, Edison developed the phonograph and the “kinetoscope,” a small box for viewing moving films. In fact, over one thousand one hundred inventions are credited to Edison. But his greatest invention is never mentioned. It is the research laboratory, which actually led to all of his other inventions. Can you imagine where science and engineering would be without this concept today? Thank you Mr. Edison.
I am also reminded of George Armstrong Custer. Flamboyant in life, Custer has remained one of the best-known figures in American history and popular mythology. He is well known for leading the 7th Cavalry battling the Indian Braves in “Custer’s Last Stand” at the Battle of LIttle Bighorn. He was nicknamed “Boy General” for being the youngest General to fight in the American Civil War at age 23.
But little known, almost unknown today, is the pivotal role he played at the Battle of Gettysburg. If fact, what he did personally, turned the tide of this battle and of the entire Civil War. General Custer is the unsung hero of the Battle of Gettysburg. His cavalry unit played the critical role in forcing the retreat of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s forces.
Custer, himself, led a valiant charge with approximately 400 union men, his 7th Michigan regiment, against approximately 7,000 Confederate cavalry. Custer personally lead this Union cavalry charge that forced General Jeb Stuart and his cavalry to abandon the fight. It was in leading this charge were Custer prevented these Confederate forces from joining others and, thus, foiling General Lee’s plans to cut the Union forces in two.
Custer played such a huge role in making Robert E. Lee retreat that General Philip Sheridan bought and gave the Appomattox surrender table to Custer and his family. Mr. Custer was thanked.
My friends, much like the notable people mentioned above, the greatest contribution that you shall ever make, is a story that will never be told. It will not be recognized. Yes, I can hear it now, as I have so many times over the years. You are recognized for being a good provider, or for countless hours of dedicated service, or for being a great parent or an outstanding educator.
But in my mind, the greatest gift that you give a child is never considered, never thought of, never mentioned. After all the years and all the tears, after all the dedication and suffering and toil, the fullness of your gift, the stunning beauty of it, the alarming reality and fascinating transcendence of being, results in giving those you most love in this world, your treasured children, the gift of tomorrow.
Our Adventure Trip
Photos from our adventure trip last week to the Great Wolf Lodge will soon be included in our Trips Portfolio. at andersonschool.net.
We truly enjoyed our visit and could not believe the number and variety of activities. Please have a safe and happy summer. I look forward to seeing you as you unwrap the precious gift of tomorrow.