I found out that the month of August had another interesting observation—what is your legacy Month. I was quite surprised, not only did not know about it, but neither could I comprehend it for usually legacy meant something that is received from someone who has died. I decided to research more about it and I did find very interesting things.
Yet it also means something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past essentially saying that it impacts the present but the origin is the past.
That makes…What will be your legacy month is a month for people to reflect on their past and present actions and vow to make positive changes that will affect generations. We have to remember whether positive or negative are planted in our children’s lives. This observance about making the right choices so that our children and their children will make the right choices.
I remember my grandfather saying everyone must leave something behind when he dies, a child, a book or a painting or house or wall built or garden or just a pair of shoes. Something our hand touched in some way so that our soul has some where to go when we die, and when people look at that tree or flower that we planted knows that we are there.
It does not matter we do, he had said, as long as we change something from the way it was before we touched into something that’s like us when we take our hands away. That he explained was essentially the difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a great gardener the touch. The lawn cutter may just as not been there at all, the gardener will be there a life time.
Of course the first thing that I looked into was the legacies that I have to be grateful for.
- Work ethics we were never taught ethics, but we did learn from observation that we had to work hard and be persistent and that every one contributed to the success of the family.
- Affection we did learn that family and friends stood by each other despite of differences, again no one actually preached this to us but we just picked up along the way observing how the nuclear family blended and contributed to the larger extended family. My grandmothers have always been my best friends and now I see my mother and mother-in-law are my daughters’ confidants.
- Community – my parents were definitely not religious not by any yard stick but they were involved the community. Our house was an open house, being near the hospital, when people were hospitalized their lunch would go from our home.
- Financial security my parents worked hard to give my brother and I, lot of comforts in life, Money we learnt was to be used wisely and decisions had to be weighed against needs and wants.
I wondered what my legacy would be… the only way to gauge it would be figuring out how my friends, family and business partners use.
Maybe this is the time for to reflect on what is that we can be proud of? And are our behaviour in line with values and beliefs, which made me realize that my behaviour many a times did not align with my values and beliefs. Stress impacted the way I dealt with things handled problems or communicated. I did not always act or handle things the way that I would have liked to.
I also realized that I had learnt not from my parents’ teachings but by observing them. That meant my legacy would be the way I nurture, or neglect my children.
I wondered how could this be celebrated or ways here was what I thought we could do
- Contemplating on the legacy that we have been left. Are they the ones we want to pass along to those around us?
- What are the values that we are passing forward? If we are not sure evaluating the best words that describe us from a character traits list could help.
- Host a legacy party
- Invite people who made an impact on your life.
- Send a thank you note everyone who impacted our life.
- Play the legacy game – each person attending will tell what they would like to be remembering by.
Why wait till someone dies to send the eulogy, it would be nice if we told all the things we appreciate about people when they are alive. After all language allows us to reach out to people, to touch them with our inner most fears, hopes, disappointments, victories. To reach out to people we’ll never meet. It is probably one of the greatest legacies that we could leave to our children or loved ones—the history of how we felt.