Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Legacy: A Model To Follow At Home

My mom's neighbor died recently. His name was Ernie. I didn't know him well although I'd met him a few times while visiting my former home. But I'd heard about him many times, usually through my mom, about how much he was known for helping others.

He'd watch over her house while she was gone, see that the yard got watered or whatever else was needed. I've also heard similar stories or comments from other neighbors like, "There's nothing Ernie wouldn't do to help you."

At the funeral home I met his three daughters and I could tell that they were proud of their dad and had seen evidence of his caring, giving heart. I'm pretty sure they will continue to be impacted by the gentle, servant spirit of their dad and how he cared for others. One of the daughters called him her "hero" at his funeral.

The "Ernie's" of the world are helpful reminders for us all to regularly consider what we're going to leave as a legacy for our family members. Will they remember us in the same way as people who gave more than they took? Will they speak our name and naturally say, "Yes, he (she) cared about people and was willing to help them any way they could?"

You can't orchestrate an authentic legacy but you can live in such a way that you leave a lasting, eternal one.  A couple of principles seem to be important at least from my perspective.

First, as the popular Tim McGraw song says, live like you're dying. I don't think we need to be morbid but if we thought of any given day as one of the last weeks, months or even moments we had left we'd likely change a few things. We'd certainly spend less time on the mundane and more on the vital.  You can figure out what that would be for you.

Second, serve other people even if you're facing your own struggles. When we take at least some of the focus off the mountain we're climbing and walk with someone on theirs or simply share what we have with them our perspective changes. And in the process we leave something special in this world that will impact others.

Third, fight against consumerism.  It's so easy to think that life is about getting more.  But being and feeling really alive is about giving more. Consuming by itself isn't wrong or unhealthy. But worshipping what we consume is and will steal from any meaningful legacy not add to it.

Finally, do the above with the people you love - your spouse, kids, friends. Teach and help them to live the same way and to leave their own legacy that others will certainly praise at their funerals and hopefully long before.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

No comments:

Post a Comment