My legacy: What I want to leave behind
I can’t help but to think of what I’ll leave behind when looking ahead. What will my life amount to? This powerful and stimulating question, may, of itself be worth far more than its answer. In fact if, after exploring and building upon the thoughts this question will bring about, I am able to act, I may be fortunate to bring about a real and lasting legacy. The key may be to remind myself to consistently ask this guiding question. I’ll admit that sitting here, writing this, I’m a bit starry-eyed.
As a 23 year-old, husband and father to one, everything is still so new and life seems to be racing in fast forward. There is so much life left to live, and yet I’m learning quickly just how fast life can past. I consider this opportunity to imagine and prepare for the legacy I hope to leave a privilege. I wish to admit here, both to myself and my reader, that the principles and paradigms I now adhere to will likely shift and mature. That understood, and despite the unanswerables, please entertain my brief, but meaningful, explorations as I consider the Legacy I wish to leave.
Let me first differentiate between two similar but fundamentally distinct terms—legacy and heritage. Put simply, a heritage would be the tangible, and legacy the intangible things left behind. I most certainly hope and intend to be productive and prudent enough throughout my life to provide and leave a heritage of wealth and material possessions. So, wealth is not a bad thing, right? I cannot discount the value in the “things” I hope to leave behind, but I do believe that they will have their limitations. A house will grow old and become outdated, and a sum of money will soon be spent.
A Legacy, in contrast, may not be as easily measured, but can be valued for generations. My life may well be spent in the accumulation of things so as to provide both comfort and enjoyment for my family, but the legacy I wish to leave will be born in the words shared and lessons learned in the moments I’m afforded with those I love. I very closely associate my life’s worth, fulfillment and purpose with the relationships I share with others. Not so much that I determine my worth by the opinions of others, but more so in the discovery of self in the context of others.
Much as one might define a color or temperature by contrast and comparison, I would not be who I am without connections I enjoy. While I must say that the principles of opposition and Identity are important to anyone’s character and self-discovery, I’ve learned that understanding this essential relationship is invaluable. As no one has the same set of experiences, I hope to have left lessons that clearly teach the principles that I’ve learned in the face of my unique adversities. My hope is to remain as a source of faith and courage to all those who remember me.
?A man of God. So closely will my life have been lived to the goal of discipleship that others will never have had need to question my loyalty or devotion. Beyond any legacy I could ever hope to leave will be my hope to bring others to, at the very least, a knowledge of the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than a title of my denomination, I hope that my affiliation and services through the LDS Church will have been a testament to the power and peace such lasting principles bring.
I hope to have been known as one who magnifies each and every assignment or commission given. I will have dedicated much time to study as well as service; striking a balance between knowing differences in administration and living in ministry. ?Happy wife, happy life. I will not be known, but as half of one whole. My life’s endeavors may lead me to accomplishments of task and assignment through work, church, or development. However, no assignment, decision, or effort will be given on my part without the full faith, knowledge and support of my wife.
It may have become less conventional to act as a married man ought—counseling and making decisions with each other—as society continue to demean and degrade the family as time goes on. I will be a man of traditional scruples, I will adhere to the biblical teaching that man and woman are to be one. A man of posterity. I will assume my greatest work in life to be the relationships I forge with my wife, sons, daughters, and posterity. I will hope to have risen to be a great patriarch in my family.
With my dear wife at my side, I will have consistently made sacrifices of both time and perceived potential for personal gain for the sake of rearing a righteous and responsible family. I have seen far too much of the failure in homes to waste any amount of time on the distractions of empire and interest. I will be remembered as well for the days I got off work early to attend my children’s performances as well as I will be for the stern but loving conversations we share in council after particularly hard moments of fear, mistake, and decision.
I’m glad you see that things will not always be as you would like. The important thing may just be how you address and handle these situations, rather than whether or not they arise. My children will speak of my time with them as moments they still turn to for comfort and direction. I will have never let anger consume constraint, in fact, if anything I may be remembered for tedious and lengthy discussions as exchange for curt and rash words. It may be fair to assume that my ceaseless desire for complete understanding will often be punishment enough in and of itself.
Connection. I will be known for unrelenting and unexceptional willingness to see eye to eye, no matter the time it takes or degree of emotion expressed. What will happen when you are required to take on a directive leadership style? Will you always see eye-to-eye, given your goal here? To understand and be understood—to communicate effectively—will become a legacy to itself in a world which will continue to grow into technological disconnect. I will have left the understanding that this world is not known be a single definition but by the billions of individuals that make it.
The power of one on one conversation will be a mainstay in the home and family I leave behind. Beyond the walls of my home and into the world of my vocation and church affiliation, I will have had significant impact in lives as a man who took the time to help others feel validated in their challenges and accomplishments. I will have gone out of my way to help with others’ interests enough to have become a comfortable resource for help and a reference for challenges others face. Elbow grease. My posterity will know me as a hard worker.
From my later youth as a commercial king crab fisherman in the Bering Sea, Alaska to the consistency and excellence given in my profession, I will be known for never having left a task unmet. I’ll be found at home in the office as well as the yard, sharing enthusiasm for work, and in that respect I’ll have won friends wherever I will have been. There are few ways to know a person as well as you can as when you roll up your sleeves and get to work together. Success and Unity are the rewards of determined teamwork.
I hope to have been the friend that others think of first when a challenge arises or help is needed. I want to have been dependable in getting work done. I’ve intentionally disregarded any sort of exploration of potential titles and career accolades my life may bring in my effort to emphasize the importance and personal focus I wish to give to the principles and relationships I hold dear. I will say that my time and effort in my work and profession will have done nothing more than to promote and confirm the principles of character I believe to be essential for true success. I believe that all aspects of life are merely extensions of the identity established in the home and therefore, whether I amount to any sort of executive will all be a matter of circumstance. I will assume that I will have filled various positions of expertise and importance, but do not esteem those to be of much lasting value—beyond the relationships I build with colleague and co-workers. The legacy I wish to leave behind when I move beyond this world will amount to the clarity my actions bring to the principles I know and hold to be lasting.
I wish to be both intentional and innate in my ability to both teach and learn the principles of truth. For those I come to know, I hope I will have been a friend. It’s truly in the small moments that life is made and lives are impacted. I want to have been and will strive to be the man who sees and values the worth of those moments, where I can be an instrument and facilitator of change and progress. I believe my life to be a gift, and hope that others will see my gratitude for it in the efforts of time and service I give for others.