“Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.”
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
These words are so poignant. Longfellow reminds us that, if our lives are to have meaning, we are obligated to accomplish something worthwhile while we inhabit this earth. He invites us to ponder: How will our actions benefit mankind? What will be the essence, short of carbon, of the footprints we leave for the next generation?
I have had the amazing good fortune of having had many figures in my life that have helped me to get to this vantage point. These are the people who have taken me by the hand and led me to this day in time, paved my path with footprints so I could step forward with ease and confidence. These are my heroes, the people who have enabled me to see my life as full of good fortune. They include my parents, who encouraged me to pursue a career in music that gives me joy beyond their ability to comprehend; teachers, who led me to realize my own ability to learn; and friends and colleagues, who have mentored and inspired me and given me professional pride. These footprints are so large, but they challenge me to do something profound. Their selfless devotion in the interest of making the world better makes me eager to do the same.
More than likely, this is your story too. And so, it’s time to start carving footprints of our own. How? We have many choices.
We can leave footprints on the hearts of those who have made it easier for us to find our paths by clearing obstacles and giving us tools. We can seek out those who have taught, advised, and mentored us and tell them that they impacted our lives. During this holiday season, this time of thanksgiving, you may wish to express your appreciation to your heroes on the face of a star in the SAA Galaxy of Stars. There’s a built-in rebate in the pleasure it will bring you.
The recent SAA Power of Community campaign brought home to me the idea that we are more powerful when we act together. The SAA has produced several programs during the last decade (Every Child Can, Parents as Partners Online, Suzuki Principles in Action) that have positively impacted the quality of Suzuki music education. Whereas I have not personally had a hand in the development in these programs, I leave my footprint by making a monetary donation toward progressive programs of this nature. No one can make these projects come to life alone, but if we all contribute to the Annual Fund, our collective footprint will be powerful.
Who will be the next generation of Suzuki teachers? We can make it easier for potential teachers to get the appropriate Suzuki teacher training by donating to the SAA scholarship fund. In this way, our footprints will help to support the future of music education for generations to come. We can multiply the effectiveness of this footprint by donating to a named fund, thereby honoring someone who has contributed to our own successes.
I urge you to design your own footprint. Make it large, make it deep, and make it memorable. Please make a donation to the SAA Annual Fund in a way that speaks to your vision of the future of the SAA.
Sue Baer, Development Committee, SAA Board