At the school where I teach, in the boys pool locker room, there are names carved in pen on the custodian’s closet door. These are the names of a few students who have been on the boys swim team and the years they were on the team.
Outside that locker room, near the entrance to the pool, there is a record board. It contains the names of those boys who hold the records for our school in the various swimming events.
I cannot help but to compare and contrast the names placed on the record board with the names carved into the custodian’s closet door.
In both instances, the people whose names appear had a desire to be remembered.
That ends the comparisons.
The contrast is more telling.
The names on the record board were earned. They represent endless days of practice. They represent excelling under pressure at the highest level. Those student’s names are remembered for their positive actions. Someone other than the student went out of the way to recognize their achievements, and made sure they were noticed. This reveals the character of those swim team members whose names appear on the record board.
Then there are the names carved into the custodian’s closet door. Those students did not do anything to earn notice. They just decided to make sure someone noticed them. They likely wouldn’t have carved their name in the door if someone had been watching. This reveals their character as well.
Anyone can get noticed. It really takes no effort. There are a million goofy things you can do to get noticed. So if anyone can get noticed, then is getting noticed really an achievement?
Do not confuse getting noticed with getting noticed for actually accomplishing something positive and admirable.
It seems some have never been taught the difference.
The one swim team member I most remember does not have his name on either the record board or the custodian’s door. In the springs, I coached him in lacrosse and I remember him for his character and mental toughness, his relentlessness and heart, his kindness and humility. I called him my hero while I coached him. I will never forget him.
The desk pictured above belongs to Walt Disney. Nobody remembers him for carving his initials on this desk. They remember him for his great works which carved his name forever in our hearts.
It’s not about being remembered, it’s about what you will be remembered for.