This morning as many great grandchildren, grandchildren and great grand-dogs as possible were gathered together in a freezing Holland Park to visit a bench. The park was where our fondly remembered walked – often arm in arm – and the bench is where I sometimes sit to remember them and their inspirational ways.
Obviously their legacy is so much more than a bench but, since this morning, I’ve been thinking about what sort of legacy we all might leave.
I know that many think that our children are – quite simply – our legacy. But I don’t agree. Firstly, your children are who your children are. It’s too much pressure for them to carry your legacy aspirations. Also, for those without offspring, this is wrongly weighted.
Secondly, and more poignantly, what legacy are we leaving for our children – and our children’s children.
Either way, I’m comfortable enough with mortality to take on a deep consideration for my legacy. It needs to be considered. Never one for a last minute panic, I want to know that it’s in hand. Besides, the consequences of what we do now will certainly outlive us.
I’ve seen those children of the famous who never really find their own identity. Instead of feeling the drive or need to self-accomplish, they feel debililated and unmotivated to create for themselves. Living in a shadow is not living in a legacy.
Another common legacy pitfall is the financial legacy. And if the sense of expectancy is crippling, the pitfall is deep and dangerous.
In short, I feel that legacy is a choice (ie you can’t choose your parentage but you can your legacy). And the bench is nothing but a reminder of the legacy behind it. What these particular elders left behind was the quality of their existence, their moral and virtuous lives and the summation of their choices and actions. End of story.