“Make Your Mark” by Wayne Rolfs

A mildly redacted recommendation for my son from his grandpa. – GS


Make Your Mark.   I don’t recall when I first read about “Making Your Mark” perhaps in my Bible or an old movie of bygone by days. Make your mark friend.  But here today you are asked to consider the mark…

Mark refers to the legacy we leave from our life.  Fulfillment of what God has created each of us to do with our time on earth. Overall, it’s about what our life has meant to others.  What goodness have you and I displayed or what selfless actions have we performed to others around us?  

What defines one’s character, what he or she is all about?  We all have moments in life when we may make significant decisions based on our values.

“It’s about what our life has meant to others.  What goodness have you and I displayed or what selfless actions have we performed to others around us?  What defines one’s character, what he or she is all about? “

– Wayne Rolfs on MAKING YOUR MARK

We are blessed with a family who left numerous great marks that we cherish and hold dear. Collectively, they’ve sacrificed for our beloved country and served God. We’re grateful for family members who fought in World War II like Uncle Will, Uncle Bernie and Uncle Lou. There was also Grandfather Swan who navigated an airplane and Joe Ostrander who flew in a bomber shot down and survived being a POW.

After his war effort on our behalf, Jack’s grandfather Warren Swan went to Michigan to build automobiles, Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, not just as a worker, but in charge of building and assembling these cars and trucks.  One day I asked, “Warren, why can’t you build American cars as good as the Japanese?” He said, “We can, and better. But it’s not our production where I have a problem, it’s the people who don’t give me their best work or effort.  We need people who will give their best….people like Jack I’m sure he’d say. That’s part of Jack’s heritage that made our country great.

I’m thankful for other family members who volunteered to serve our country like my dad and father-in-law who built planes at O’Hare Field to participate in the war effort. No, war was not of their liking but their sacrificial efforts showed us what courage and devotion to country, family and God were all about. We will never forget what they did for us and the selfless example they set. They made a mark we admire and are thankful for. 

As Americans we’re all blessed to have such a rich heritage. Individuals left their mark and we each have an opportunity to make our own. May the mark we make reach dozens, hundreds and thousands, for the good. (For example) my grandson Jack Swan.  As a young man he competed as one of the best tennis players in the country.  Did he pursue this path of glory he was headed down and become a tennis professional? No, he selected another way to make his mark and it wasn’t chosen for the applause he’d receive from others. He decided to become a doctor so he could save lives, help others and give his all to hurting people. A servant path to heal and help others in need.

Jack comes from a line of people who came in covered wagons, went through tremendous effort and sacrifice for their families and their God. I have an obituary talking about our family, the Rolfs in Kansas and the great witness and example they were to their neighbors, churches and friends. They stood strong, were admired and loved and they loved their God. In a book about Kansas in the 1800’s we read of relatives who made their mark who were part of our rich  family tradition. They made a mark when they came across the seas, saw the Statue of Liberty and wanted to continue the American tradition – love of God, family, neighbor and country. 

Great, Great Grandfather Springer was instrumental in the Holiness Movement which became the Pentecostal movement   People still talk of the mark our family made. This is Jack’s family, part of his heritage.

You may have heard of his Aunt and Uncle, Doctor Lynn and Dave Swan’s work in the Western part of Michigan, their clinics  have helped countless families, babies, children in Michigan.  That’s Jack’s heritage, making their mark by the grace of God.  

Or you can look at the work of Jack’s grandmother Judith Rolfs.  After 30 years as a teacher and psychotherapist in Wisconsin, she has written over 20 books to help people live the best life they are called to live.  Tens of thousands of people have been blessed, even as far away as Africa.  She’s part of Jack’s heritage and is still making her mark, worldwide. No, not to make riches, most of her books go out to people, churches, charities at no charge.  

That’s Jack’s rich heritage.  We should be shaking Jack’s hand…

…change the world to be a better place for all, what he can and will he accomplish only God knows, but I can assure you he will leave a great mark like many of his family have. Doctor Jack will give you his very best, I guarantee it.

Wayne Rolfs ~ Jack’s Grandpa