Each of us lives our life building a small box that will ultimately be left behind.
This box is one we build even if we don’t want to. It is our legacy. It is our history. It is what others have experienced and have seen in us. It is the memory of who we were, what we did, what we accomplished, how we treated others, how we fell short of others expectations, how we fell short of our own expectations, what dreams we accomplished and what dreams never really made it.
At my employment we have started something we call a “Legacy Document.” This is supposed to be a folder of information related to our position that gives specific data to whomever might have need to follow one of us into the “line of fire” (so to speak). It is a road map of information that we leave at the location.
Many of you make some plans for others concerning your finances. You call it a “Will.” It is also a road map of information that you choose to send on to those that matter in your life. Great pains are taken to either provide for your final wishes, provide finances for a spouse or children or grand children or the like. Some have even gone so far as to provide for a pet. Some leave it all to charity. At any rate, this is a document that is supposed to outline what should be done with what was left of your estate.
These types of legacies are good. But they are not our true legacy.
The legacy “box” is the one that matters.
You will be remembered. That is, by someone. Maybe not many. Maybe just a very few. But someone, somewhere will remember you.
Your legacy box is your effect, your true estate as it were, that you leave to ALL that come after. It tells the tail of who you were seen to be by others. Not always who you really were. Just what was seen by others.
What does your legacy box look like?
Did you help others or think only of yourself? Did you care or were you “care-less?” Did you have a positive impact on someone’s life or were you the one that caused others to fall? What would someone say about your character? Did you have any? Were you honest or a liar? Did you obey the law or skirt it at every chance? Were you a “good” person? Did you play by the rules or cheat the system at every opportunity? What was your example to your children? Did you speed in and out of traffic? Were you a courteous person or show others that they didn’t really matter? Did you respect others and their rights? Did you give to the needy or hoard for yourself? Did you give of your time or spend it all on yourself?
My father’s legacy is great. He had an effect on many lives throughout his own. He was involved in the creation of two private schools. As the pastor of a church he made a impact on many a life on a regular basis. He taught good to all. He lived as he believed. He stood for what he believed. He walked the walk as much as he talked the talk. This is and was a rare thing. Many people respected him and his name is respected to this day and the effect he had on people’s lives will continue for generations. Though I will never be able to say that I have accomplished as much or even come close to the impact of his life, I think the greatest thing he did for me was in the values and respect and teachings that he gave to me. In effect, he is in me and lives on. Not just in me but in my brothers, my sister, his and my mother’s grand children, and the many other lives his life touched. I can only hope that the life I live will touch even a few to that level.
I am on “LinkedIn” which is a social site for business. The question was recently asked if integrity was a thing of the past? Maybe not those words but something very close. I also recently posted on my twitter account that my father had once called me skeptical. I also wrote that I felt he was correct. I responded to the LinkedIn question with my thoughts that I was somewhat “up in the air” on this matter. That I felt that balance was a force that is always in check in every society and every age.
I now have changed my mind.
This may be very disheartening for some but I have become more skeptical than ever. I still believe that balance may still be true, but I lean more toward the pendulum theory now. And it is also unfortunate, but I feel we have swung way too far to the side of selfishness as a whole. At least here in the US.
I see a fat society. Fat in many ways. Not just actual weight (2 out of 3 Americans are overweight). Fat in the belief that the individual should have everything they want. They should strive to achieve anything they want and should feel no remorse for those they step on in the process or who they have to leave behind in order for themselves to be “happy.” (the “happy” box is another box all together) The word is “entitlement.” It seems to be taking over. No-longer do people think they should have to earn what they get. They feel they deserve it. No matter that it cost someone something. They should have it. On credit if necessary. And who really cares if the bad ole credit card company (the bank) goes bust because they gave out credit that should not have been given in the first place. Someone somewhere made the money and “I” should have it. “I’m entitled” so they think.
Yes. I’m a skeptic.
The scam artists are everywhere. They have been around for a long long time. It is a fact of our everyday lives. “Buy this because it will make you beautiful or sexy or make you feel good.” “Do this or that to make yourself look or feel more important.” “Watch out for this, we can protect you.” They show pretty pictures of what you want to think you would look like because it sells their product so they can make more money. They tell you this lie or that lie to make you want to vote for them so they can have the “power” to make the laws that benefit the ones that put them into office so that they can steal even more of our money. Not so that YOU will benefit in anything. It is so that THEY will benefit.
Politicians, doctors, lawyers, policemen, firemen, teachers, clerks, technicians, car salesmen, businessmen, anyone and everyone, even the clergy seem to have some hidden agenda. Usually to take your money, your power, or your dignity. Cynical isn’t it? Do you ever really listen to the hype, the sales talk, the propaganda and innuendos behind what is being heard with your ears? Do the words being spoken ever send a deep chill as if saying “THIS IS NOT RIGHT”?
Yes… I’m a skeptic.
Today I was able to speak with a good friend about this topic. Some question about whether people know what they are doing was brought up. His statement had to do with the fact that “Jesus” knew that people didn’t even know what they were doing based on the quote “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” I have some thoughts on that as well.
Do we know what we are doing? I think yes. While we may not know all of the ramifications surrounding what is being done, there is still that “still small voice” crying out from deep inside telling us that what we are choosing is either right or wrong. We “KNOW” if it is right and we know if it is wrong. What our decision is may be based totally on unrealistic principles but that decision still weighs on us either way. OK I’ll give a little leeway. There are times when we really do NOT know what we are doing and do the wrong thing simply out of ignorance. But where it effects truth? You and I both know that you know when you are telling a lie. You know when you are stealing. You know when you are telling something about someone that you know is not true. You know when you are intentionally cheating a person or a company or a business or the government. You know when you are breaking a law intentionally.
Doing the wrong thing… there is a cost to that. One quotation that I am familiar with says: The wrong thing…. “it will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Doing the wrong thing, even with good intentions, often costs much more in the long run. Almost always does. Doing what is right may cost. But it seldom costs as much. And how far reaching does it wind up? There was once a commercial that was directed at the cigarette industry. It was a man, seemingly healthy, tall and strong, sitting next to a tree enjoying his smoke. The camera turns as he lays his pack of cigarettes down. Sitting next to him is a young boy of about 3 or 4. The boy picks up the pack of cigarettes and starts looking inside. The message (if you didn’t already guess) is that what we do ALWAYS has an effect. Not just on us but on those around us. Often without our thought it is happening. What your children see and hear you do is what they learn to do. Not what you tell them to do. What you do.
I am amazed at how often I can go to a restaurant or place of business and see children seemingly totally on their own doing what ever they choose to do. They make noise, steal, break, and run rampant with out any regard by the “attending” adult. I am astounded at the total disregard for life while on the road. Not just by young drivers either. The “ADULTS” drive like maniacs. That one or two extra minutes that they save by cutting someone off to get in front of that one more car…. Do they really think they are saving that much time? Does getting there one more minute or even 10 minutes earlier make any real difference? Wouldn’t they have been much better served to have just left that length of time earlier themselves instead of teaching their own children this method of highway madness? You know the ones. Those that run down the side of a long line of people to jump in front because “they are too important to wait like everyone else” kind of people. But I digress.
It equates to disrespect. It equates to selfishness.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
So… back to the original question… What does your “legacy” box look like? What are you leaving for others to see? How will they think of you when you are gone?
The one thing I would like to impress on your life is this… Truth never fails. Never!