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A Memorial Day Dedication: A Salute to the Back Row

Don't forget to look behind the front lines.

My mother passed away several years ago after battling an illness. In honor of her this Memorial Day, I decided to ask myself what was the number one thing I admired most about my mom. I didn’t want to over think it- just wanted to see what first popped in my mind.

The answer gave me goosies. And opened up a whole cave of streaming thoughts.

My mom was a silent achiever and that is what I admired the most. Her competencies were indisputable yet you would never have found her posting them on Facebook.

My mom’s demeanor and personality definitely complemented my father, who was a human tornado whose accomplishments were hard to miss. (Read Sid’s Sense series and you’ll get the picture).

It wasn’t until I became a wife and mother myself that I fully appreciated everything my mom orchestrated behind the scenes. Never seeking praise. Always appreciated and loved but rarely the center of attention. She completed tasks because they needed to be done. Her performance never needed an audience.

I grew up to marry a silent achiever. The type of guy who will dig the trench and put the shovel back before anyone knew he was the one who did it. The only way you would ever know it was him is if you specifically asked.

Whether in a classroom, conference room, athletic event, or social gathering, you can be assured there are silent achievers in the room. They’re the ones who won’t monopolize the conversation, won’t ruffle any feathers, and are more likely to blend in than stand out.

Facebook and Twitter cater more to the kids who waved their hands in the air to get the teacher’s attention in elementary school. Those who need their significance validated by others.

Silent achievers achieve but they don’t need anyone to know about it to feel good about their accomplishments.

Silent achievers tend to listen more than talk. Observe rather than be the center of attention.

Our days are filled with soundbites, tweets, and texts. Everything is in your face, on your hip, in your pocket. I hope this reminds all of us to be mindful of what is not easy to see at a glance.

Memorial Day is about remembrance of loved ones who have passed, many who were silent achievers.

Their legacies should remind us that our true value is in what we do, not in how we express it to others.

"Too many people undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they’re not."

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  1. Brought tears to my eyes. SO well said. Thank you.

    May 28, 2012
  2. Chloe Ortbals #

    I really loved this post. Nowadays, I think we need more silent achievers in the world. This was very well-written. You’re in my prayers grandma!

    May 28, 2012

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