“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My parents love biographies, so as a homeschooled kid, I read many, many biographies of great people. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world that “school” meant hanging out on the couch with my mom reading together about Teddy Roosevelt.

From these biographies, I internalized an expectation that I too should be great. That I should welcome personal sacrifice, be dedicated to noble causes, and make transformative improvements to people’s lives. But these biographies often overlooked the virtues of goodness I learned from my parents – kindness, humility, and integrity.

After leaving home, I struggled to balance the drive to be great and the desire to be good. At times I acted selfishly, casting others as supporting characters in my own story.

I have decided that I want to be great at being good first and then try to be good at being great.

To me this starts with being a loving husband and father. I want to selflessly find compassion for those who need it most and treat all with dignity. And, someday, maybe I will set aside my own “greatness” to hang out on the couch reading a biography with my child. After all, wouldn’t that be great?

— Eric Justin