Coming of Age

Do you know a world­changer?

Are you one? You might think a person has to cure cancer, invent clean energy or end poverty to earn that title. But it’s not true. I’ve known two world­changers, and I was lucky enough to call them family.

Last year in the space of four months, I said goodbye to my Granddad Morgan and Grandma Marion for the final time. While it was sad, it was also great to celebrate two amazing lives. It caused me to question the purpose of my life, and what I will leave behind. I need to decide how I’ll live now, while I’m young—not wait till I’m old and opportunities have passed.

Here are the secrets behind two people who decided early to live like world­changers.

MARION: Marion grew up as the youngest child of a large family in Melbourne. She married while she was young and moved to Papua New Guinea with her husband. Life was pretty tough in PNG and their first house was made out of paper with scorpions, snakes, and centipedes all around them. 

But that didn’t stop her from making the most of her life in a difficult place, and she and her husband started a family. As her children grew up their home was often full of people, and there was always time and food to welcome visitors. This continued throughout her life. I remember getting my teacher to stop the bus at Grandma’s house during a school excursion. I knew Grandma would have some treats waiting for me, and I was right, but she also had treats for all thirty of my class mates.

Grandma put others before herself. She gave her time to people and loved them. In the months before Grandma died people streamed into her home from all over to talk, sing, and thank this woman for her selfless life.

MORGAN: Morgan was a successful businessman in England, selling farm equipment. He earned good money and his family was growing. One night he watched a video about the Aborigines in Australia, and decided he would leave England to help these people.

With his wife and six children, Morgan left the comfort of England and travelled to the desert of Western Australia to help the Aborigines. He started a school for Aboriginal children and spent his life serving them. Morgan could have stayed in England, earned lots of money and lived a comfortable life, but he chose to put others before himself.

Today there are Aboriginal children who are getting a quality education because he made the decision to give up his life for others. Both Grandma Marion and Granddad Morgan put others ahead of themselves. This was one of their big secrets to leaving behind a valuable legacy.  Many people think people are for using and things are for loving, so they invest all their time, money and energy into things like cars, a house, and a job. Sometimes it’s tempting to use people in the pursuit of money and success, but I’ve met people who have spent their lives doing that, and they’re not normally happy.

People are for loving,­ things are for using.

You can’t take stuff with you when your life is over ­ Morgan and Marion knew that. That’s why they chose to love people. Choose to leave a legacy.  Live like Morgan and Marion, and put others first.