Legacy is not about money
I have had a few very interesting conversations with some men whom I respect, both men are significantly older than I am. I should also say I have a high regard for their opinions as well. During the course of two different conversations on separate dates I brought up the idea of legacy. I was astonished at how quickly each man reacted, as if I had called them a name. ”What is so bad about legacy, I asked?”
Man one, “it’s arrogant and self serving.”
Man two, “I’m not looking for recognition for the things i do.”
On both occasions I was certain they had completely missed the point. Their angst saddened me and awakened in me a need to redefine legacy, perhaps that will be mine. I can’t blame either man, the idea of legacy has been tainted. Most often these days it’s a word used when discussing money. People request buildings to be named after them, as legacy. People have their names stamped on pews of churches as legacy. Non-profits refer to legacy donations, which is a donation committed in a will… like one you give after you die. This sounds very much like an arrogant display or people looking for recognition. It usually results in things like the sunday school classroom with the nice furniture I was never allowed to take teenagers into.
We must redefine legacy, mainly because my generation needs the benefit of it so desperately. In the simplest terms, I would say to the men and women who are moving into retirement age, “keep your money and tell us your stories.” Legacy is not about tangible things. Legacy is pouring our lives into the next generation so that they might live with the integrity of the past generation. Legacy is not about money.