I read a good deal today about the fear of death and there are some people who believe that the greatest fear that man faces is the fear of death. I’ve come to believe that our greatest fear is not the fear of death, but the fear of insignificance, the fear that we shall live our years upon this earth and when we are through that it will be as though we have never been, that the sum total of our existence will be a great big zero. And we desperately want our lives to amount to something, to count for something.
Let me suggest that at least one way is that as you go through life you are a teacher to other people. I don’t mean that you need to get a certificate in education and go to work in a university or in the public school system. But wherever you are, as you go through life you take advantage of the opportunities you have to teach other people. There will always be someone out there whom you can get to know and you can share with them the riches that you have learned down through the years. And as you pass on to others what you know, you are having an eternal significance in their lives. And that gives to our lives a meaning beyond our years upon this earth.
I think back across the years at the people who influenced me most. I think I would name, first of all, a cracker salesman who taught me in Sunday school and who coached the church softball team. He took time to teach me some things about life. And though his life is almost over, it still lives on in me and through me because he was a teacher. Because he took time to be involved in my life and pass on to me what he had learned, I will forever and eternally be a better person. The influence he had on my life lives on and it shall live on in the lives of others whom I’ve taught. And wherever you go and whatever you become, whatever your chosen field, though you may never have a lot of money, though you may never achieve a lot of fame, though you may not have unusual talent, you will have the opportunity to pass on to other people what you have learned.