Weekly Thought – June 21, 2016
Fred’s legacy of wisdom continues through the influence of those he touched. One of his mentors Dr. Julian Gumperz died and was written up in the New York Times. The headline announced the passing of a man’s influence. Fred commented that the lifework and impact of Dr. Gumperz would live in him. A positive legacy is the true residual of a life well-lived.
Lately I have been giving a great deal of thought to the difference between legacy and inheritance. It seems many of my friends are thinking about ways to leave money to their family members. Although this is admirable, I prefer to think about leaving a legacy. Legacy encompasses how to live and how to die- the passing on of one’s core values. My legacy will be my personal answer to the question: “What has been the theme of my life?”
While speaking in Las Vegas years ago I caught entertainer Ray Bolger’s act. I wanted to get the sense of who he was before I introduced him the next day at the conference. The limber-limbed dancer is best known for his role as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.
In his show he performed the signature steps of the dance greats who preceded him including Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Fred Astaire. His message was that they left something on the floor when they no longer danced. The close of the show was a sole spotlight focused on a stool in center stage. On it sat Bolger’s dance shoes, making the tacit expression that he, too, wanted to “leave it on the floor.”
We must carefully consider what legacy we are leaving. I am convinced inheritances often split families while legacies bond them. How many times have you seen families broken apart over money? The passing of the torch should not ignite a family fire.
It is crucial to think about the imprint we are making. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote about “leaving footprints on the sands of time.” Steve Green, the Christian musician, sings about the hope that “those who come behind us find us faithful.”
The mark we make is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on earth. Our legacy remains as long as our influence lives. It is our responsibility to make sure it is a good one. It is my hope to leave meaning more than money.
This week think about: 1) If I died today, what would be my legacy? 2) What steps am I taking today to build a legacy of meaning and faithfulness? 3) How can I communicate my life themes to others?
Words of Wisdom: “The passing of the torch should not ignite a family fire.”
Wisdom from the Word: “And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.” (2 Timothy 2:2 NET Bible)