“What we do in life echoes through eternity.” >>Maximus The Gladiator”
Legacy is often defined as a a gift by will especially of money or other personal property. Its also defined as something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
The word that catches my attention above is the phrase “by will” – intentionally, consciously leaving behind something to someone.
All of us reflect at some point what we leave to our kids. Possessions, money, memories, values and more – we all want the best for our children. Are we raising a child who will grow up to bring new hope to the world through innovations or breakthroughs? Are we raising a child who will grow up to be a source of joy and comfort, a beacon of faith and fortitude? Are we raising a child who will harm or rape or rejoice in another persons pain?
So many of us work hard to love, to share, to discipline, to correct through our children’s growing years lest they fall into paths we didn’t intend for them. However if we take it a step further, its interesting to think about what we are leaving for the rest of the world around us and our family.
I saw a a young child in a park yesterday, loud and aggressive, destroying the plants, bullying the younger children, pushing and hitting out at others. I watched as slowly as the parents accompanying smaller children, turned away and pretended they didn’t see this behavior. A few of them pulled their own children to safety and coaxed them away while they quietly educated their child on how not to behave. The bigger kids left to their own means, started abusing back in defense and grouped together to distance themselves. In time, the little boy found himself alone and excluded looking frustrated with himself and the world around him. As he ran out of the park, I wondered where his parents were and how he in his confused, angry mind would process what was happening. Days later, i heard about the same boy, again in trouble for another act of mischief and people who knew him branded him as naughty, horrible and more. The situation seemed to cry out for help – for this little life that was losing its way and everyone around watching in silence.
Its time for us to start thinking beyond ourselves and looking to each other. Fast forward the situation to think of the child who was not corrected in the park, not guided and calmed to the hopeless adult now who is bereft of kindness and empathy. That child may still be in the same parks and surroundings, now much further away from being helped. And in time our own children will be forced to abandon their ways to defend against people who follow a different set of moral rules. The legacy I leave my child is therefore also your child. For they will be the generation of the future – together, with a set of values that make the world what it will be then.
It falls to us to intervene, to do it with love and kindness and care. Like we would do for our own children, we do for each other. Only then do we leave a legacy where our own children can truly survive with the values we taught them.