What is LEGACY and why is it important? Legacy helps us to preserve history and build connections through time. For this Key, we ask, "What is my story? How do I want to be remembered?" and also... "What can I let go of?" Legacy reminds us that our experience is unique, and our story is valuable. It also challenges us to think about what is meaningful to others, and how we can best share our legacy with those we love.
If you don't tell your story...who will?
We used to have lots of opportunities to tell our stories...family gatherings, holidays, social events in our community. Somehow, before we had all this *time-saving technology* we seemed to have...more time! Now, we need to take a moment to truly focus on capturing our stories or they might be lost forever. After all, no one knows OUR story except us!
So many ways! To leave a Legacy...
Thinking about how to leave a legacy can be really fun. It is not just about money and physical assets! It can be a favorite recipe, a funny piece of family lore, or a principle that inspires future generations to live a certain way. It might mean capturing your story through writing (see the Tips and Tools this week!) or it could be handing down a special item - a handmade craft (like a quilt!), a piece of furniture, favorite jewelry, or a personal collection.
I love to share the story of my mother's hats. It was a big surprise to my sisters (and I'm sure to my mother) that when it came time to choose which items to keep and which to give away, I laid claim to her collection of hats. There were only a few, and I am not much of an accessory person, but somehow I felt like the hats connected me with the artistic, fun-loving side of my Mom that I wanted to remember!
Legacy can be surprising...and challenging
Legacy is not just for family. We can leave a legacy to friends (including furry ones), to a favorite cause, to a school, or to the community. It can be shared across great distance, can outlast time and can persevere through obstacles and divides. Our legacy is our impact. The value of thinking about legacy now, is that we are reminded that we have the power to shape our impact every day, in every moment!
Of course, legacy can also be challenging. Some of our treasures may not be valued by the next generation. As our culture moves into the Information Age, we see storage pods popping up all over the country, a visible symbol of this mismatch of values. What do we do if our children don't want the meaningful items that we have been saving for them? (See this week's Q&A).
And legacy can mean making choices, or imparting advice that others don't approve of or agree with. This can be difficult. We must balance our need to connect and share, with a willingness to allow and support the dreams of those who will follow. We must be true to ourselves, and yet also see that our legacy is an opportunity to teach, to share, to forgive, and to let go.
Now it's your turn:
What legacies have been meaningful to you?
What legacies have you started to create?
What new legacies do you still want to build?