The legacy you want to leave

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” — Graham Greene

A legacy is the enduring effect that you create. My wife, Caralyn, and I are very proud of the legacy we are leaving with our three daughters – Maari with the hat on – our youngest, Dhyana next to Maari – our oldest, and Kali – our middle daughter.

What is the legacy you would like to be remembered for? What you are striving to achieve? What drives you to create every day? What do you use as your measure of success?

We often get lost in the daily activities and forget (or put deep in the background of our thought processes) what we value and what is most important to us, in an attempt to meet the needs and demands of the day. One of the true pleasures I derive from my work as an educator and consultant is the opportunity for continual renewal, reminders and rekindling of what I want my legacy to be, and how I ultimately will evaluate how successful I have been in my work and the difference I have made in the lives of those I have touched.

I meet many people in my travels around the world who truly inspire me — they are my kindred spirits striving to build communities of excellence. I listen to their descriptions of what they want their educational or parental legacy to be (though they don’t necessarily use that term). I observe how they are achieving their dreams and how they are evaluating themselves in their quest. There are those who are: starting schools or meeting the needs and demands of existing schools; those creating organizations (both for-profit and non-profit), or work with individual classes and students; they come from urban and rural regions, from the comparatively tranquil to the embattled corners of the world, and from both the wealthiest and poorest environments. They are parents devoted to helping their children, by finding out who they really are, what is inside of that child that makes him or her truly unique. They create Web sites, books, products, activities to help improve the quality of education and exuberance for life .

Whatever your activity, whatever your purpose, an essential element for success is to fully understand the legacy you would like to leave when your work is completed. What is your intended legacy? What are you doing to create moments that “let the future in”?

5 Responses to The legacy you want to leave

  1. kp January 14, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    This was a great article and I have personal experience with the statements made in it. Everyone should think about this with their children to make sure they are leaving a legacy that they would want to go on.

    • Bernard January 30, 2013 at 5:03 am #

      Thanks Kali (for those of you who don’t know, Kali is my middle daughter); your spirit of play and your insouciance leave a legacy that people remember even years later. Dad

  2. Anoush NeVart January 29, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    This is a wonderful article and story about your family and legacy. I don’t have children; I just have a beautiful dog who is the love of my life. That hasn’t stopped me from asking this question repeatedly over the last few years. What is the legacy I want to leave?

    I know that I want to leave this planet saner, calmer, happier than when I arrived. I know that I want to leave a legacy that inspires people to THINK for themselves. And I know that I want to leave a legacy that keeps on giving…whether it’s education for a certain group of population or …?

    Thank you for igniting the fire of conversation on this topic, Bernard! I admire you tremendously and your intentional way of living!

    • Bernard January 29, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      Thanks Anoush, and you are definitely leaving that legacy, all who know you can attest to that!

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