Sometimes people ask me, “Why do you write about family legacy?”
When people think about family legacy, they tend to think about rich people, money and cumbersome estate documents. But that’s not what legacy means.
My own father died of cancer when I was 12. I wasn’t allowed to see him. He died in an era where children weren’t allowed to go to the hospital room and see the suffering of cancer. In hindsight, I would have liked to have gone—to hold on to some memory and perhaps receive some word from him. Instead, I got his watch and an old western book that he supposedly read in the hospital.
My dad was not a perfect guy—alcohol was a big vice. But he taught me the value of work and the necessity of a job well done. Those have been vital life lessons that I still carry today. Those are his legacy to me.
I wish he had left me more. I would have loved to hear stories of his father, of his growing up days, of his service in the army and of his early travels. But those memories have all been lost, and all I have left is a watch and a western book. My stories of my father are few.
I try to tell those stories to my own children. I’ll tell them to my grandson. I’ll tell them to my nieces and nephews. These stories are the fabric of our family. These stories represent who we are, where we’ve been, what it cost to get here. They represent our dreams and our hopes for the future.
If we preserve our stories, we preserve our families. If we preserve our families, we preserve all that is good, decent and lasting in our community, and we make our world better.
That’s why I write about family legacy. It is so much more than money. It is about who we are as a people.
What’s your legacy?
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Published February 16, 2016
Topics: Family Legacy