Today’s Headlines And History’s Judgements Are Rarely The Same!


Several years ago former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, addressed a crowd of nearly 18,000 in a special forum address at BYU’s Marriott Center….Rice started with a caution to those in attendance, and those covering the speech as journalists, saying, “Today’s headlines and history’s judgments are rarely the same.” (BYU Media Relations Jan. 24, 2011).

During the short course of my life, I have discovered the above quote from Ms. Rice to be true. History has a way of completing the headlines of the day. Over time, as is often the case, decisions and actions by individuals of the day begin to be judged according to the long-term consequences. We all know that consequences of our actions, be they good or bad, often don’t bear fruit for years or decades. In some cases, they don’t arrive till long after someone has died. Political figures, praised in their day, find themselves on the wrong side of history down the road and vice-versa.

Most of us are not in the position of affecting political policies or of making decisions that will have an impact on worldly affairs, but we do make daily decisions that, down the road, will affect not only our lives but also that of our posterity. While it is not always true, it is most probable that children tend to have the same interests, values and hobbies of their parents. It’s only natural since they are usually exposed to such things at a young age. I have a love of sports, church and family. Not surprisingly, my children have similar interests. And even less surprising is that my interests mirror that of the family in which I grew up. As we go through life and raise a family, many may think that their personal “headlines” of the day are important. But what might seem to be an important worldly accomplishment will quickly fade, never to resurface again. Other, sometimes less spectacular accomplishments, are not notable to the crowd, and need time to bear fruit. Family prayer, scripture reading, personal prayer, commitment to church callings and kindness to others are some examples of small decisions that receive little notice, but are like the small mustard seed. The Savior said it was the smallest of all seeds, “…which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” (Luke 13 19).

When we cast our non-headline type seeds into our small gardens, it often takes years to see that our sacrifices and nurturing have ultimately produced a large tree, or haven, for our children and grandchildren to lodge in. Let us live our lives such that history will bear witness that we have “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7) and left a legacy worth remembering. Who a man is, or the scope of his influence, is often not unearthed till his body lies beneath it.


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