As part of my address during the Rotary Clubs of Oakville Paul Harris Award ceremony in January I asked this question rhetorically. I have been asked a number of times to share these comments so I will do my best to provide a synopsis below.
The notes from my address:
I want to close by sharing a question that was posed by Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma. It is his book “How will you measure your life?” that I have always found more poignant. His book stems from his observation that while many Harvard Business school graduates had successful professional careers, their personal lives were by all accounts a failure. Their lives were riddled with broken families, multiple divorces, and estrangement from their families and children.
So I’d like to rephrase his idea- how will you measure your response to the pandemic? (I wrote some of these comments with specific people in mind. Please note their names in brackets)
Wine bottles consumed? Or wine bottles collected to support local charities? (Rotary bottle drives)
New recipes mastered? Or the number of meals you made for those in need? (Julia Hanna, previous Paul Harris Recipient)
The horde of food and toilet paper you amassed or the amount of donations you made to food banks and charities? (Rotary COVID Relief Fund)
Your trips abroad or to your cottage? Or the number of driveby birthday parades you organized? (Rotarian James Montague)
The number of times you wore your mask or the number of masks you collected and distributed to the most vulnerable? (Carol Cheng and Shawn Feng, Oakville Chinese Community Response Fund)
What will you say in posterity to your children and grandchildren about your time during the pandemic?
What legacy will you share? How will you measure it?