Handing down your legacy….



by Kenneth Justice

~What will your legacy be?

That is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. Ever since my father died in 2008 I’ve been pondering the meaning of what it is to leave a legacy.

How do you want people to remember you?

I’ve recently watched quite a few documentaries on Bob Marley and a picture has been forming in my mind about the man; he wanted to be remembered by,

–> the love he had for his family and friends

–> the passion he had for music

–> his commitment toward the freedom and equality of all people

–> and his  love for Africa

I’ve talked quite a bit about the fast paced nature of life here in Western Culture because I believe it is this fast food frenzy paced way of life that leaves many of us feeling a tad bit overwhelmed.

Perhaps you are thinking; “Kenneth, you want me to think about life legacy today? I barely have enough time each day to brush my teeth and put on clean clothes!”

Unfortunately, many people are in that same boat; they are so busy, so conflicted with day-to-day responsibilities, and so overwhelmed with merely keeping their head above water that they are thankful to put their head on a pillow at the end of the day and breathe a sigh of relief that they made it through the day alive.

I don’t have any simple solutions…..

I realize life is fast paced……but is that really what we want to leave as our legacy, is that how we want our children to remember us; “my mother was  overwhelmed”

In my days as a college student studying counseling I was taught to help people learn that they can be happier if they slow down their life…..

You can’t control traffic….but you can change how you react to it

–> A slower-paced life means enjoying your mornings…instead of rushing off to work

–> A slower-paced life leads to more meaningful conversations with your friends and family….instead of 40 character text message conversations

–> A slower-paced life leads to more meaningful moments, building memories that will cement a positive legacy

How do you want your friends and family to remember you?

Do you want people to remember you as the person who was always critical and never encouraging?

Do you want people to remember you as the person who always held grudges and never forgave?

Do you want people to remember you as the person who always talked and never listened?

Each day that we are blessed to live is an opportunity to add positive building blocks to our life legacy……

And to borrow the colloquialism, ‘the quality of the bricks we use will determine the quality of the structure we are building’

I think about legacy a lot because I witnessed the death of my father. It impacted my life quite a bit. His death was the reason I went back to school and finished my degrees in psychology and counseling. His death initiated a drive within me….to do something more with my life.

George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been

It is never too late to realize that life is precious…..life is fleeting…..life is over before you know it!

How do you want to be remembered?

I suspect one thing my children will remember by is my love for coffee, which reminds me, I think I will have another cup.



Categories: Culture & Society

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14 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Black Sheep Sweet Dreams and commented:
    Love this article, nice one Kenneth Justice

  2. I took my 23 year old to see a play about a very stern immigrant mother from Nazi Germany. She wanted to pass onto her 6 children a strength to survive this difficult world. She wanted to toughen them up. Of course they were all neurotic and confused. I believe my only legacy is that I love deeply. That may make me vulnerable and mushy at times but it is authentic. I stand up for my beliefs but I don’t think that forgiveness is surrender. I am not afraid to tell a person clearly that I don’t agree with them but I would like to discuss it. I do not want to pass on a legacy of being wishy washy. Be bold and direct. Let your actions speak about your truths.

  3. Legacy? Hard to say about oneself.
    I hope I’m sufficiently curious.
    I hope to ask more of myself and others.
    Right now, that’s it.
    Thanks for the opportunity to contemplate, Kenneth.

  4. Another nice post! The problem you are stating is even more dramatic in countries like Greece. Apart from 1.6 million unemployed (every house has one and some has two or three) the government has reduced the salaries in both public and private sectors without drastically reducing the commodities prices and to top it all they have 10 new taxes for all the lucky residents! . An average family has to earn twice as much to get by, so the ones having a job have to find a second one just to make ends meet. This means no time for the family, no time for social life, no time to protest, not time to be creative. I guess they can slow down, but the society they are building for us is an arena where the winner takes it all. It used to be different 30-40 years ago, you worked as much as you wanted and afforded you the kind of life (with more luxuries or with more time) you wished for. Now it is either you work for peanuts and you don’t have a life or you don’t live. Sometimes it is the job of the government to slow down a bit, see what is going on and say this is no life, this is a walk to the edge.

    • Vassillis,

      I can’t imagine how difficult life in Greece is at the moment. I read a couple more articles yesterday…..at what point will people start leaving the country in mass? If the government can’t turn things around it seems like people would have no choice but to get out….it is so sad because of the great history of Greece and everything it has stood for all these years.

  5. Kenneth, I really enjoyed today’s post!! Recently I was having a conversation with my mom about legacies, and we had a very good talk actually. I know what I want my legacy to be, and I believe I’m going in the right direction. I want my children to remember me for my readiness to play with them/spend time with them, and for always explaining things to them; I want to be remembered by others as someone kind and helpful, always ready to listen and care; I want to provide for my children’s college education and a down payment on a house (which if I save $100 a month for that, my kids are young enough for me to actually do that). My mom feels like she and my dad haven’t done anything, haven’t left a good legacy behind for us and their grandchildren, but I told her, that she has left us a wonderful legacy, that of parents who always did their very best to care for us, teach us, and guide us. And that’s a lot more than some people can say. I hope people who read your post will stop and think about what legacy they want to leave behind….

  6. wonderful aspiration to have karma of body, speech and mind continue beautifully into the future!

  7. Great post! Well done on making us pause, stop and think!

  8. I think I was better than a lot in 33 years as high school history teacher. I know I taught the college bound how to write that critical essay and the ones 2-5 years below grade level I always found something they could do to pass instead of being failed like most or the rest of the teachers. It gave them just enough self esteem to try a little harder and begin to believe in themselves .

  9. The death of a parent is never easy, but it can be an inspiring event–one that makes you reassess priorities in life. All our stories end the same, but its the chapters themselves we get to write. Thanks for asking these questions and offering them up as reminders for others.


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