Our legacy or how we are remembered is a day by day, place by place, person by person event. If we are the guests of someone in their home and are disrespectful or leave a mess – that person will remember us for that event. If we are in school and we are good listeners and work hard and are conscientious about our school work – that is how that teacher will remember us. Many of us have had our older brother or sister go ahead of us in school and even what they are remembered for is expected from us – good or bad.
How we behave is how we will be remembered and how we are remembered is about our character. Persons with good character have good principles that they live by. They believe in honor, integrity, duty, justice and other ethical values. They live up to those values because of two other qualities namely, conscious and courage. Conscious is our internal voice that reminds us of our moral obligations and courage helps us to do the right thing even when the cost is high, risky or unpleasant.
No matter whether we are parents or children we will be remembered by the character we display, both in the good times and the difficult. As parents though we are molding the children’s character everyday and every minute. The choices that we make create our legacy and affect the way our children will create their own legacy. The same is true if we are the older child in the family. So when we make a choice we might want to do it with the question in our mind, What would we do if our child was watching us, or our parents are watching us or our sibling was watching us?
Is this action one that I would like to be remembered for by those around me and that are so important to me?
This week as we started to talk to our students about LEGACY, one of them had their grandparents with them. After the class the grandparents were sure that we had had that discussion because they had been in the audience. Unfortunately too many times we think of leaving a legacy about those who have already lived a full life or even more often of those who have passed away.
Our goal this month is to help our children to understand that every day of our life we are building and leaving a legacy. A legacy is simply how people remember us. Therefore our behavior in every moment leaves an impression on others. The choices that we make determine and leave an impression on how others remember us. It is our legacy.
In the book Fahrenheit 451 the author said, “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies…Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” In so many philosophies and spiritual teachings we get the idea that the actions we take will have an effect on many generations to come, and that we were affected by many generations prior to ourselves.
Who are some people that you feel have left a powerful legacy? It may be for good or bad, but others are influenced by what they said or did. Just as important what is the legacy that you are creating for yourself? How can we help our children to understand that the choices we make determine the legacy we live?