What do you want your legacy to be?

By Barbara Altman

Your Legacy

What will people say about you when you are gone? What is your legacy? Mark Twain said that people will miss you so much that even the undertaker will feel sad. What kind of mark will you leave on the world? Will it be a better place because you were born? Will the world have more compassion, more love, and more hope because you lived your life with high ideals? Do you put the needs of others first? Do you look for ways to serve and to help?

I have the pleasure of working part-time in a nursing home. I crossed paths with one of the residents while on the way to the rest room. Both of us were in dire need. She asked me if the restroom was available. I said it will be in a few moments. I felt the sting of my words and decided to let her in first. It was not my finest moment. Thank goodness I came to my senses. I almost missed a chance to show kindness and concern.

Think about people who have left a positive world footprint. Rosa Parks left a legacy of change. Dr. Martin Luther King left a legacy of equity between races. Billy Graham will leave a legacy of redemption.

Think about your own life. There are over seven billion people on planet earth. It’s easy to think that one individual’s legacy can make a difference. Rosa Parks was an ordinary citizen who refused to give up her seat on that bus. What if she backed down and failed to state her cause? What if she took the easy way out and decided not to take a stand? What if she stood up and let someone else take her seat? An ordinary seamstress did an extraordinary thing. What can you do to make a difference? What is your legacy?

How do you want to be remembered? What will they say at your memorial service? Do you want to leave an indelible stamp of love, hope, and fulfillment? Or do you want to leave negative energies behind? I choose to make a positive imprint on the world. I would like the planet to be a better place because of my influence.

At the end I will ask myself if I left a legacy of peace or one of dissent. I will ask myself if I left a legacy of harmony or one of dissonance. I will ask myself if I left a legacy of hope or one of despair.

By Barbara Altman