Sharing your legacy is equally about conveying to your loved ones that which is truly important to you, what matters most to you in this lifetime – the values you stand for, the causes you are committed to, your raison d’etre – your reason for being. Your family may very well already know it, but they need to hear it, and you need to say it. So say it, convey it and share it with those whom you love.
And sharing your legacy is about bestowing upon your loved ones a charge – charing them what you expect from them in this life and long after you are gone. This isn’t about telling them what profession to pursue, who to marry or pushing them down the path of your dreams. Rather, this is charging them with what you expect from them regarding your highest ideals – take care of one another, live a life of truth, call your mother every Sunday. You get it. The core stuff. The important stuff. The “absolutes” for you in life that you expect to be upheld even in your death.
Lastly, sharing your legacy is about offering blessings. I’m not talking generic, universal blessings, “may their be peace on earth and goodwill between all humans.” That’s lovely, but meaningless, certainly meaningless to a child who is missing their dad, wanting, wishing or longing for a personal blessing that will never come. I’m talking about taking your daughter by the shoulders, looking your grandchild straight in the eyes and saying, “I see you. I know you. I love you and here is why…..” It is about recognizing their strengths, acknowledging their talents and understanding their gifts. It’s about articulating these things and then re-stating them as a blessing of what you see in them, what you want for them, what you know will be. Blessing another is about bearing witness to someone’s life and in the end you are the witness they want and need.
So yes, this Thanksgiving kick back, relax, watch football with your family, laugh, schmooze, hang out simply enjoying one another’s company. However, come turkey time, take a few moments and give thanks. Don’t just mumble some rote words of prayer before you break bread. Rather, take this precious time while you have it to truly give thanks. Give thanks for those around the table. Go around the table (or do it one by one during the course of the day) and offer specific words to every person there – words of gratitude, words of blessing, words of love.
That my friends is how you leave a legacy – a legacy that your family will carry with them, and carry on, long after you are gone.
Have a happy, gratitude filled, blessing stuffed, legacy leaving Thanksgiving and, God willing, many more to come.
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