Legacy is the thread that weaves through at least two generations beyond you. What do your family and friends remember about you? How did you impact them? What parts of your daily life have a ripple effect beyond you today?
Legacy is much more than money or the stuff of physical inheritance. How can you be purposeful about the legacy you live and leave for the future?
What specific steps can you take to be sure the good relationships you have today are favorably remembered when you are gone?
What can you do to be sure the legacy you leave will do no harm?
I have one beautiful simple silver spoon and one cereal bowl my mother used to eat her morning cereal from when I was a child. There is something about the simplicity of the curve of that spoon and the delicate glaze on the bowl that are so “Mom”.
Mom’s legacy was her pure joy and appreciation of visual beauty. She saw it everywhere. Everyday I feel her joy and excitement over beauty in every little thing—a sensuously shaped pear, sunrise over the lake, dew on morning grass. She had an implicit gratitude for color and shape and the light around her. That was an important part of the legacy she left us.
My husband’s family left a different kind of legacy and inheritance. His father pre-deceased his mother by 15 years. When “Makka”—so nicknamed by a grandchild– passed away, she left her three kids and their spouses and grandchildren the family vacation cabin at the lake.
The cabin was a wonderful place. We (now the oldest generation) spent our teen-aged years at the lake. Later we all married and had children of our own who loved being at the cabin. Then our children grew up and now our grandchildren love being at the cabin by the lake.
The cabin provides a home base that everyone gravitates to. It represents freedom and fun and family. It is a very special place to be. And, now there are 18 in our immediate family that share the cabin. That could be a management disaster!
The legacy, however, is just as important as the inheritance. As adults, we all cared for Makka during the last 15 years of her life. At first it was an unofficial team. She was a fun person to be around. She enjoyed the family and was eager to be included in whatever was going on.
She demonstrated amazing flexibility and agreeability when her life changed as it became harder for her to get around. She went with the flow and always expressed appreciation for help.—That part is part of her legacy—being flexible, agreeable and appreciative.
As her care needs increased, we became much more organized as a team. Our communication improved. We each, in our own way, tried to look ahead at how to include Makka. It became more complicated when she was in a wheel chair.
She made two major moves once she became fairly incapacitated. Our team worked together to cover the bases and make it happen as smoothly as possible. We have quite a variety of talents in our group. Amazing things happened as we pulled together.
We are a real family with our rough edges and disagreements. Makka lived her legacy of doing the best for each of us. She encouraged us with her generous loving heart.
The inheritance of the lake cabin without Makka’s legacy might have been a family disaster. Makka’s three children and their spouses are all strong willed people . Each couple has different attitudes about money and management. The family could have fractured with arguments about how to manage this precious asset. Generations yet to come would have missed a wonderful part of life. The legacy of working together is what saved the inheritance for future generations.
We can help you with facilitated family conversations that will be the foundation for growing a strong family team.
Legacy is built as we live our daily lives. What impact do we want to have on our world?
What are you doing now to build your legacy?
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