To leave a legacy is to leave behind a piece of yourself for future generations. Webster’s dictionary defines the word legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” This “something” can include money or property, but more importantly it means telling your children and grandchildren what was important to you. If you are interested in leaving a legacy, these tips will help you get started.
Decide to Leave a Legacy
This tip might seem obvious, but it is amazing how many people aren’t intentional when it comes to leaving a legacy. One important step towards creating a legacy is to make an effort to leave one. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Make sure you are aiming at something worthwhile.
Define Your Principles and Beliefs
Once you decide to be intentional about leaving a legacy, you have to define what you want that legacy to be. Do you want your children and grandchildren to remember you for your work ethic? Perhaps, you would rather them recall how you treated others. You might also want to leave behind your spiritual beliefs. To determine what you want your legacy to be, ask yourself:
- What would I want my children or grandchildren to think of when they remember me?
- What one thing would I tell them if I could only communicate one life-changing thought?
Communicate What’s Important to Who’s Important
Once you have determined to leave a legacy and defined it, you must communicate that message to your children, grandchildren, and other important family members and friends. There are many ways to go about communicating what’s inside your heart to those you love. Here are a few of popular ways to leave a legacy:
- Write a Journal: This would be a compilation of writings that would communicate your innermost thoughts with those you love. Leaving a journal behind is a great way to keep encouraging those you love after you are gone.
- Send Letters: From short little notes to long, detailed letters, the length is not important. What is important is getting your story out there to those you love. They will treasure these notes of wisdom when you are gone.
- Make a Movie: If writing is just not your cup of tea, perhaps you can utilize the technology of video. You can pay someone to make a professional video to communicate what you want your family to remember about you, or you could ask a friend to use a simple video camera and do the filming yourself. Media arts students will sometimes make your movie for free if you allow them to use some of the footage for school.
Above all else, leaving a legacy is about how you live your life every single day. Communicating what’s important to you is worthwhile, but living a life worth remembering is the most important step to creating a legacy.