In a span of eight days, my oldest child got married and the last of the fourth generation of my family passed away. At the funeral as I learned new details of my 98-year-old grandmother’s life (like the fact that she was a drill press operator for much of her adult life), I couldn’t help but think of how her life influenced mine. What she accomplished lives on because it influenced her progeny – a group to which I happily belong!
Examining her legacy, I am forced to examine the legacy I am leaving my children. I do odd things for the sake of memory. For instance, I have worn Obsession perfume all of my adult life. Why? Because I read a book once in which the protagonist would go into the local five-and-dime to smell one of the detergents that reminded her of the way her deceased mother always had smelled. I decided then and there that there would be one fragrance that would remind my children of me should I die. But memories are not legacy. Legacy is technically money or property that is passed on when I die. Sorry, kids. My legacy there probably will only be debt!
For those who wax poetic, though, legacy has come to mean the “ground” we gain during our life time… the possibilities we make happen that make future possibilities an option for our kids. So, what is my legacy for my kids? Well, I would definitely have to say it is education.
I have taught only one person to read, and that was my daughter while homeschooling. Coolest process ever! I was homeschooling because my son needed an option to a standardized test-heavy schooling. Later, both kids were able to go to the school my family owns, and both very heavily influenced how I developed the secondary program. Because I took risks, neither was forced to choose one area of concentration for electives, but instead could explore all. Justin’s art, music, and technology interests definitely led to choosing The School of the Art Institute in Chicago for college and eventually to his job as a maker. Bria’s time spent as CEO of the robotics team and specifically being a member of the marketing team led directly to her choice of majoring in public relations.
I think we have to stop and consider what we’re leaving for our children. Will your kids see that you opened doors for them, or have you been a major roadblock? I hope my kids see possibility.
My son and my new daughter-in-law return from their honeymoon today. I am so excited to watch the blending of two families' legacies in this one couple. The doors are open, Kids. Happy legacy building!