Family Legacies

This month we’ve talked a lot about being thankful, but we’re also thinking about what it means to create a legacy.  As parents we’ve been given a responsibility to care for the children we’ve brought into the world.  As caregivers, we’ve accepted the responsibility of caring for our own children, as well as relative’s children and other children we come in contact with.  Dirk Benedict said:

“Children… are our legacy. Our responsibility. They are our destiny and we are theirs.”

It’s that simple.  Our legacy isn’t just the books we write, the things we do to and for the environment, the people we put in office or the things we leave behind, it’s how we prepare the next generation.  Our legacy is more than what we leave behind, it’s what those who come after us do with what we leave behind.  George Washington wouldn’t still be famous if we weren’t still the USA, Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t still be famous if segregation was still practiced, Helen Keller wouldn’t be famous if we didn’t have such advanced resources for those with disabilities, the list goes on.

How we raise our children, what we teach our children, how we live our lives around our children, our attitude towards the world and the people we interact with all impact our children, which in turn impacts the legacy we leave.  After all, legacy is defined as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”. In other words, there has to be two sets of people involved for a legacy to be created.  If there’s no next generation, there can’t be a creation of legacy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m very interested in the next generation not having a bad taste in their mouth when they think of the legacy we’ve left them.  Are you doing your part to ensure the next generation has a better chance than we were given?  What are you doing to leave a legacy?

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