There are times when I think about my mortality, more so recently. The obvious next question is, so about your legacy?
The impact your life has had on those around you and particularly the ones you love?
Clearly there are those of us (unlikely not me) that will have a huge and profound impact on civilization, others will have an enormous impact on their countries and yet others on their immediate communities.
However, for the vast majority of us our impact will be on those immediately around us, on our family, friends and loved ones.
I suppose the question is – does it matter? If you’re like me I’m guessing that you definitely want to leave a positive mark, but its sort of murky to a large degree in what that form will take.
It would be great to thought of fondly by your friends, acquaintances, and network but let’s face it the real impact is commensurate with the level of intimacy that we share with those people.
My focus has always been to be a good role model and father for Zach and Sam, and therefore everything has been centered around that fact.
So two big questions spring to mind – what do we do to provide opportunities for lasting memories for our kids? The other is – what can we give our kids that is priceless?
For the majority of us, our legacy will fade relatively quickly other than the stories our children tell and relate to their subsequent families and children.
A great example are the stories of Grandfather Conolly that my mother told me as a young boy. These stories are still being hared generations on, not just by me, but all his great, great grand-children. Now that is some legacy! 🙂
Such distant memories but what sticks out in my mind is that the stories, likely somewhat embellished that she told me seemed always a little larger than life itself…
There is no question he was an unabashed adventurer and followed the beat of his own drum in life. Often, getting in, and surprisingly out of trouble on a regular basis. And from the stories she told me there were plenty of each…
No matter how many times I heard the stories I would always smile and wished that I had known him.
Her face would come alive, and she’d laugh as she told of his antics but always in a loving and caring way. It was clear that mum and grandfather shared a common love of life.
This was his legacy…unbeknownst to him generations on.
I think it’s more that just that though.
Living an authentic life and showing your kids what it’s like to be real are the ingredients of these tales.
Without embracing life and being passionate about what’s important to you, they may never see you for the person you really are, your authentic self…
Since I made the conscious decision to reinvent myself, I’ve been endeavouring to live my life on my terms…
I can hear you thinking, so what does this mean on a day-to-day basis?
Show them through your actions!
As for Zach and Sam, well I’m sure having an adventurous father is great and all. However, I believe it’s the simple things that will have the greatest impact in the long term.
Always making a home cooked meal for them whenever possible. Going out to visit Sam every other weekend on a Sunday morning just to have breakfast with her. Reading Zach’s thesis and essays and giving (very limited feedback and guidance).
I’m hoping that some of these stories will be passed down to the next generation, their families.
Stories of their father who created a warm and loving home, perhaps stories of our collective travels and adventures to far flung lands…
Only time will tell I suppose…
I think the greatest gift we can give our kids, and likely in hindsight the most valuable – is our time.
Creating memories with your kids happens everyday. Simple things, such as playing on the swings in your local park, or going for ice cream after dinner.
Just making yourself available to them is the most important. 🙂
The tricky part is putting aside all of our gadgets, and freeing ourselves from the hectic lives that we lead…to just be.
Engaging in the everyday is where its at. It doesn’t have to be worldly or big, but simple and eclectic that fills the memory banks of our kids.
We get one life, take a chance, lean into it every day with all your passion and energy. If nothing more than for those that you love…
What are you waiting for? 🙂
Until next week