As I look back retro-spectively at my life - I think about all the people that have crossed my path.  And I think about those that really "stood out" - those that had a very positive effect on my life. I think about what made them different and what I respected about them most - and what was I able to take from them in the most positive way.

A few things come to mind.  One thing that has always touched me and of which I have taken interest - are those people that go through life - constantly looking for ways that they can be a positive force to others - people who go through life finding ways to "give back"  to their family, their church, their community, and their friends and associates - and do so in a humble and non self-grandizingly way. I note it rarely has anything to do with how much "time" they have or dont have - but simply a mode of life - that they find purpose, meaning and even happiness - in helping others and giving and sharing instead of just "receiving".  People who understood the Christian principle of losing themselevs in the service of our fellow beings and in so doing being in the service of our God - and yet very much finding peace, purpose, love even when it wasnt these things they were directly looking for.

Another thing that has always impressed me - is the difference between people who simply "report" the problems and challenges of life - and those who proactively and consciously decide to be part of the solution to the problems this word faces both individually and collectively.  I admire those who are proactive and not reactive.  Those that carve out their destiny and not just accept fate. 

And thirdly I have always been impressed by those that DONT just  go through life  "operating in a vacuum" or as "a one man band" - but those who learn and proactively find way to work with others, to find positive ways to create synergy in a group - and who dont expect everyone to think and act just like they do.  But rather those who find unity instead of disparity, those that find commonality in the middle of diversity and find ways to work together - instead of giving up when other people don't think or do the way they would. Those that have learned to use TACT, EMPATHY, RESPECT, PATIENCE, PARTNERSHIP and realize the world doesnt revolve around them. I have been impressed by those that in a way that does not generate defensiveness, focus on sharing their uplifting faith with others - instead of tearing down a "different type" of faith that others adhere to. 
Those that look for potential in others instead of focusing on the current imperfection.  Those that build up instead of tear down. Those that build bridges instead of burn them. 

These principles above,  impact every aspect of the lives of each one of us - with our most intimate relations and with our must public forums.   I have also seen these same principles manifest themselves in the area of genealogical research. 

It has always impressed me - when I find those people that look beyond just what some service, program, website, or activity can GIVE to them - BUT RATHER focus on how such things can be a conduit whereby they can GIVE BACK to others - giving back to their family, their ancestors, the genealogical community and the world using such facilities.

I have seen this in examples like FAMILY SEARCH INDEXING,  or FINDAGRAVE crowdsourcing, or ways of sharing genealogical data. In my humble opinion,  way too many people simply focus on "whats in it for me" - - what can I get from what I desire to find out of a given service - and conversely those people who look for ways that they can GIVE BACK through these same facilities to others.

This has been one reason that I have been impressed by both FamilySearch (even with all its well known imperfections) as well as FINDAGRAVE ( and its quirks, issues and shortcomings).

I have found by specific examples how in the Yancey Family - we have arrived at great success in many areas of family history  - because people saw the potential in these systems - and not their flaws, people who tried to become part of the solution and not just "reporters" of the issues. People who worked hard to make flowers bloom  instead of just reporting that the ground was too dry to grow flowers.  People that learned to work with other people - of differing opinions - instead of just working in a vaccum and in total control.

I realize that everyone is unique - and that we all will find differing ways to "give back" - to our family, to our community,  to our faith, to the world - - it doesnt have to be with GENEALOGY -

BUT I challenge all of you to FIND WAYS, MAKE WAYS to freely give and give back to others (not looking for reward or recognition) - and in so doing you will find your own purpose, mission, happiness and joy in life.  It has very little to do with "how much time we have" - but how we choose to spend the time we do have.

GIVE BACK! - you will find it makes a world of difference.

Family Search Indexing:

The FamilySearch Community

The Family Bible Preservation Project