Little boy looks to the right at the playground

The Legacy You Didn’t Ask For

The Legacy You Didn’t Ask For

by Bill High

“They have a great legacy.” What comes to mind when you hear that statement?

Perhaps you think about the family that took a great risk, started a great business, adventured in some new realm—they crafted a life out of some granite impossibility. We like to think of legacy that way.

Something that we shape and build. (Read this Harvard Business Review article for an example.)

But what about the legacy that you didn’t ask for? What do I mean?

I know a family whose child was born in traumatic circumstances. He wasn’t expected to live long. Certainly not even past age 5. But he’s survived all these years and now is in his 20s.

His mental capacity is that of a 5-year-old. He smiles a lot, laughs some but requires constant care. It’s taxing, hard work. None of it glamorous.

For many families, his birth might have broken them, or led to divorce. But instead, the constant care, the constant service has sharpened their eyesight. They see the world with a softer lens—a lens of compassion, and humility. They serve really well.

A big part of their lives will be defined by their service to their son. It’s their legacy. And it’s a good one.

Legacy is less about shaping the granite, and more about responding to the wonder of life. It’s letting God shape you, mold your character, through the many, many things we don’t choose for ourselves.

I’m not arguing for passivity by any means, but for the humility and gratitude that enables us to face what comes with courage, faith and kindness.

How do you view the things in life you never asked for?



Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

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Published December 6, 2019

Topics: Family Legacy

FaithFamily LegacyGratitude

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