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Your Legacy

December 3, 2013

Death is certain… although, the timing is usually unknown.  Have you ever thought about what your final legacy would be?  Have you thought about what people would say at your funeral?  Now would be a good time to jot down a few thoughts – and then look at it to see if that is how you live your life, how you ascribe importance to what you do and the examples you set.  If there is a divergence, why not start to bring your thoughts and actions closer together.

I look at the obituaries in my local newspaper almost every day.  The announcements there are either free or very low cost, but in the NY Times they can run upwards of $10,000.  People leave instructions, and even write their obituary, setting aside the money to pay for it.  Most of the obits tell what someone has done, their accomplishments and their charitable activities.  They do not tell how they felt, what values they had, how they would like their progeny to act and what tenets they should adopt.  To my way of thinking, the obits are ego driven without conferring benefits.

A more important alternative is to write down your thoughts, wishes, dreams accomplished and not, and values you would expect those mourning you to learn and grow from.  It’s highly personal, so write it down, don’t show anyone and leave it where it will be discovered after your death.

Better yet, after you write it down, try to convey the feelings you expressed in that time to those you want to leave a lasting impression on.  People learn by example; believing the accomplishment ridden obit would provide the example is not realistic.  Provide the examples by your everyday living.  Write it down and then live the life you want to serve as your example.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. shalomray permalink
    December 3, 2013 12:02 pm

    Good points, Ed. In Judaism (and other religions too, I suspect) there is a concept known as an ethical will. The ethical will, as opposed to the legal will, is a delineation of one’s values, hopes, dreams, etc. communicated in writing for the benefit of those left behind. If done properly, it represents the true legacy of the decedent. An excellent book on the subject is “So That Your Values Live On – Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them”
    http://www.jewishlights.com/page/product/978-1-879045-34-7

  2. December 4, 2013 12:07 am

    I just ordered the book. I have a few on the topic, but it won’t hurt to have one more.

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