It’s an interesting question many people never think about. What will your legacy be? If you are a politician, a philanthropist or an athlete it’s pretty obvious. For most of us, it’s probably something you haven’t thought about. I’m mean, who wants to think about life after our own death. That is, the life of the living. I’m mean, for Pete’s sake, you’re dead. That’s kind of a big deal. Or will it be?
I suppose growing older makes you take stock in what you have accomplished in life. And I suppose there is some truth to the saying “You can’t take it with you”. Sure you can build up a big pile of money and dish it out as you depart. But what about how you are remembered? Is that important to you? Some people plan in advance and set up charitable organizations or even build libraries with their name on it. For me, it’s what people remember you for. Intangible things really. Were you nice? Were you fun to be around? Were you someone people could count on? Those are the things. What does it matter when everyone is around the coffin and someone says, “Man, he was a really, really rich dude.” Doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot now does it?
Every September my coworkers and I broadcast live from A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children to raise money for the services they provide. Our annual Radiothon. It is always an emotion couple of days where we tell stories of all of the amazing things they do within those walls to help kids be kids. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes things cannot be fixed. Over the years we have met many children and shared their stories. Some have thrived and others unfortunately have passed. It is a natural reaction to not want to talk about when a child passes on. Can you think of anything more sad? How could we talk about that? The family wouldn’t be able to take it. Just too emotional. Well, it’s actually the opposite. One of things that I have learned over the years speaking with parents at the hospital is that no parent ever wants their child to be forgotten. Even if they only survived on this earth for a few days or even hours. Many set up funds, organize walks and annual events to honor their children. A wonderful way to keep their memory alive in a positive way. Exchange grief with doing something good.
All too often many of us never give it a second thought. But, if you think about it you can make sure that YOU are remembered. In a good way. First you need to decide how you want to be remembered. Then, do it. Because like it or not, you WILL be remembered for the things you did. Not for the things you didn’t do. Your legacy is up to you. Now is the time to create it. Live the life you want people to remember you for. I have a feeling the world will be a better place. While you are here and after you are gone.
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