Today my father would have turned 91. He died when he was 86, but that’s no reason not to celebrate his birthday. I guess the best way to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on is to remember the legacy that person left behind.
As I think about my father’s legacy, I can count 8 children, 19 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren with a 3rd on the way and inevitably many more to come in the future.
He didn’t leave much in the way of worldly possessions or make much of a mark in the way of fame, but he instilled good values in each one of us and carved a big place in our hearts and the hearts of most everyone who knew him.
I think about ways that I am like him, besides appearance. I love to dance, have an innovative approach to marketing, and value spirituality. I talk easily to people, have a flair for acting, pay too much attention to rules, and treasure family.
I think about specific lessons I learned from him. He taught me to march to my own drummer when I wanted to follow the crowd at any price. My first job in high school was working in the Men’s department at Filene’s Department Store in Boston. My Dad was my boss. I remember how he taught me to go up to the customers at the counter and engage them in conversation. I also remember, not because he told me but because I watched him, how I learned the importance of being kind and respectful and friendly to everyone because everyone was valuable. I watched him bring flowers to the older woman who sold ties and laugh with the elevator operator. My father taught me to care about people.
All said, I think my Dad left a pretty good legacy. It makes me wonder about my own. As I think about who I am, what I value and contribute, and how I emulate the best things he taught me, I feel good about my time on this earth.
How about you? As you think about your own parents and grandparents, what legacy have they shared with you? And what are you leaving to the generations that will follow you?