What will your legacy be? (Part 1)

October 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Legacy | 3 Comments
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My mom recently celebrated her 80th birthday with a backyard get-together for about 50 of her closest friends and family. It was a lot of fun for me, my mom, and step-dad (and, I think, for everyone else) to visit with people from the different seasons of my mother’s life, including her church groups, community volunteer activities, and career in college administration.

Clearly, one of the elements that anchors my mother’s life is relational connection; she still has active friendships with people she’s known for nearly 70 years. Her high value for sustained relationship is a legacy my mom has passed on to me, and it’s had a significant impact on my life choices.

What, then, is the legacy I will pass on to those in my influence? It’s definitely a mixed bag, which I’ll explore further in Part 2 of this legacy series.

I heard two stories today that illustrate very different types of legacies. The first came from a friend whose son is currently stationed in Iraq. This father told me his son is now in the habit of gathering his squad in a circle and asking everyone to hold hands so they can pray together before they leave on patrol. I happen to know this is the kind of courageous faith and leadership that’s been modeled by this young man’s father.

The second story came from another friend whose mother was frighteningly abusive. When my friend was a little girl her mother would sometimes rage uncontrollably at her simply because she disturbed her mother’s concentration. One of the legacies left to my friend was that for many years she felt like a non-person. She’s worked for a long time to develop her sense of wholeness and self-worth, to un-do the power of her mother’s legacy.

We have such a precious opportunity to leave a legacy of emotional health and hope for those we influence. While we can seldom select the legacy we inherit, we can choose a great deal of the legacy we leave to others. What will yours be?



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  1. Ellen, I enjoyed reading your blog today. This is great food for thought. I guess it’s more than that, it gives me something to put into practice. Thanks. Keep it up 🙂

  2. I’m so happy for your son 🙂 That is exciting and inspiring news.

    Writing a well thought out blog for the REST OF THE WORLD to see can be intimidating. But, it’s also exhilirating.

    I’m looking forward to reading more. Have a wonderful week 🙂

    Kristen’s Raw

  3. I appreciate your encouraging words, Kristen. You’re right, composing something worthwhile that you hope will make a positive difference in people’s lives and then putting it out there for public consumption . . . really stretches you! And, as you point out, it’s a lot of fun. Thanks for your support.

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