Legacy: a final thought

Let me circle back to ‘No Trace’ hiking that I spoke of several weeks ago.

One of the issues the ‘No Trace’ fraternity have is with the ‘social media’ driven art form of ‘stone stacking / rock balancing’: creating amazingly beautiful and physics defying stacks of stones in nature. To be honest, I love them also and have made a few in my time (at the beach only though) but I understand their concerns. 

Rock stacking, rock balancing, is an end point, not a way point.

You see for millennia, stone stacking has been used to mark burial sites, create the corner points and edges of landholdings and very importantly, to mark a trail; to show the way.

When hiking, sometimes you enter terrain that hides the obvious nature of the path, or is so broad that you could choose many routes to the same end point; think rocky shelves, moss strewn bogs, sandy desertscapes. In these cases, stone (usually) cairns (cairn singular) are built. They either help you find the obvious point where the path restarts, or by using several cairns in sight of each other, show the way for others to follow. Two cairns relatively close together is like an arrow in nature saying ‘walk in this direction’ until you see another cairn: which could be hours or even days away.

Back in 2014/2015 NNSW Adventist Education was organisationally audited by an independent education/finance consultancy team. What they noted was that in plain English ‘NNSW Adventist education had outgrown the historic ways of governance’. Due to the courage of those on the NNSW Executive Committee and in Conference Leadership at the time, NNSW embarked on a governance journey into the unknown: they looked over the horizon.

There were, and still are, many doubters around Australia and even overseas, BUT as we enter the next 4 year cycle of this adventure, NNSW education has never had more mission impact, has never had more enrolments, has never been financially stronger and had MOST importantly, has never had a larger opportunity for influence for Heaven’s sake, than it does today.

Because… of you.

We speak of what we do here in NNSW education, in our ELC’s and schools, as being the Bridge, and we are and I am so proud of what that looks like. We are also though way makers, we are seeking what is over the horizon – and, our early childhood and school programs are leaving markers for others to follow. 

We are way finders.

We are not called to simply follow, I believe we are called to lead: to discover, to create and to leave a legacy for others to benefit from.

We are the guide posts.

We mark the trail, we find the path and we set in place the ‘cairns’ to show the way.

We don’t work for today, we work for tomorrow.

We work for what we leave behind.

We work for, and because of, legacy.

Let 2023 be your year of adding to that legacy in your workplace, in your families, in your personal life and faith journey…

Stack your own stones and leave markers of your journey.


This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.