With only three days left in the challenge, it's appropriate that the subject is leaving a legacy. No matter what our beliefs in an afterlife, most people want something positive left behind when they die.
Early on in the challenge, the topic was disciplining your behavior. In that post I explained that you will indoctrinate your children, no matter what you do or do not do. It's inevitable. It happens as a natural part of life. The same is true about legacies.
You will leave behind a legacy. The question is not, “Will you leave a legacy?” But, “What legacy will you leave?”
When you recognized that your choices will have a lasting impact on your children, your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends — no matter what — it becomes apparent that you need to manage your choices and be aware of the consequences they impose on others.
When I was ten years old, I recall watching our little black and white TV with my mom. Richard Nixon had just resigned his presidency in disgrace and was getting on Air Force 1 to leave the White House. He walked to the top of the stairs, turned back and waved, and then was gone.
I didn't understand the Watergate scandal. I just knew he was the president who brought all those emaciated, tortured men home from Vietnam.
“Mom, it's so sad. I mean, he was a pretty good president except for the Watergate thing.”
Except for the Watergate thing.
And Clinton would have been a great husband. Except for the Lewinsky (et. al.) thing.
At the end of the day, you will probably remembered more for how you did things, that for specific accomplishments.
Your legacy comprises both means and ends. Is winning really winning you're ashamed of how the victory came?…The way you live your life has an effect on how you are remembered. So how can the ends of your efforts be respected, if the means make you want to blush in embarrassment?
Your kids won't remember the big Easter dinner you spent hours slaving over. But they will remember the feeling that surrounded family holidays. Your spouse won't remember what you gave her/him on your 13th anniversary, but s/he will remember that you remembered and were thoughtful and loving.
What will transcend your existence? What kind of legacy will you leave?
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I think about this more than I should. I look at politician who focus on leaving a legacy – instead of doing right and living a good life – and I don’t think the results are good. Better to focus on good living. I think.
Jarrod, that’s a really good insight. I have seen the same thing again and again. First term, do what you need to get a second term. Second term, do all the things you couldn’t get away with the first term (because you wouldn’t get reelected) but that will make your special interests think you’re awesome sauce.
Moral people should probably worry about different things, like leaving the world s a better place or giving service.
As you said, focusing on living a good life and doing right will inevitably lead the the kind of legacy that most of us want to leave.
Thanks so much for bringing up that point!
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