That’s how Claire Boothe Luce was described towards the end of her life when, in 1983, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Luce was one of the first females elected to Congress, and upon being posted to Italy was the first American woman ever to serve as a foreign ambassador.
In 1962 she offered this advice to President John F. Kennedy: “A great man is a sentence.”
What she meant is that one should ideally be able to articulate the outcome of a life well-lived by means of a single statement. Her concern was that Kennedy’s priorities had become so scattered and fragmented that his sentence was on its way to becoming a meandering paragraph.
Here are some possible sentences of esteemed American leaders:
George Washington: “He led our nation through its first crucial days, both in war and in peace.”
Abraham Lincoln: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”
Franklin Roosevelt: “He lifted us out of a Great Depression and helped us win a world war.”
Ronald Reagan: “He restored America’s hope and helped us triumph in the Cold War.”
So what is your sentence?
In his book Drive sociologist Daniel Pink suggests, “Maybe [your sentence] is:
“‘He raised four kids who became happy and healthy adults.’
“‘She invented a device that made people’s lives easier.’
“‘He cared for every person who walked into his office regardless of whether that person could pay.’
“‘She taught two generations of children how to read.’”
Will your sentence be all about you?
Or primarily about the people you hope to bless?
Most important of all:
What will you do today to help make your sentence come true?
— Authored by Glenn McDonald
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