Parent Legacies

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies — those intangible gifts that my parents are handing down to me. As I watch my parents get older, and when big and  small health issues occur, I wonder what my life will be like without them.

My parents, my daughter, and my husband at my daughter's white coat ceremony in 2005.

I don’t worry about helping them in these next few years, and I want them around as long as possible. However, I do worry a lot about how I will deal with the empty space they eventually leave behind. I have friends who tell me not to think about this, but it feels important.  In fact it seems important enough to articulate this concern to them.

How do I ensure that their legacies are strong enough to help me grieve but also fill up the parts of my life that their unbounded love and magnetic personalities have occupied? How can I continue to pass on their legacies to my daughter and her future children?

One answer, I believe, is to place some faith in the power of the birth, death, and resurrection cycle. Because church has always been important in our lives (though not a doctrinaire church), this cycle has woven its way throughout our lives, a part of everything that we do. A worship concept, yes, but more than that the cycle is a source of comfort, motivation, understanding, and most importantly a source of peace as I anticipate the future.

Legacies from my parents:

  • a sense of adventure
  • a love of learning
  • a commitment to justice
  • a commitment to integrity
  • a desire to always follow the news
  • a wish to help others
  • respect in comments in actions for others, even if I cannot stand them (though for the very first time I am being sorely tested by Sarah Palin)
  • a wish to try to make the world a better place.
  • an enjoyment of writing
  • honesty in personal relationships
  • faith

One thought on “Parent Legacies

  1. We are each the product of our parents. As a result, the most important responsibility of parenting is the establishment of values that will one day be held true in adulthood.
    The Value of Values

    An individual’s values are established in childhood and serve as filters when determining right from wrong throughout the person’s life. In today’s society, the process of establishing values within children is given little concern. People place greater emphasis on day to day activities and personal ambitions, than they do on the establishment of values within their children. By default, parents are teaching their children that values such as integrity, respect for life, courage of conviction, a purposeful life and generosity, are secondary to making a living.

    In truth, there is nothing preventing us from being true to good and meaningful values, nor is anything preventing us from teaching our values to our children. It is a matter of priorities; a matter of choice.

    In the “The Value of Values” you will learn why a transition to a more values-conscious society is important. You will learn exactly what is needed from each individual and the activities that will sustain the drive. “The Value of Values” is a must read for every parent that is concerned about our society and the challenges our children will be facing.

    We have three possible choices:
    1) Do nothing different than that which we have been doing. Complacently accept things as they are and will be.
    2) Hope that someone else will make the needed changes within our society, despite the fact it has yet to be done, and no one displays the integrity needed to influence an entire society.
    3) Accept our personal responsibility to our children. Accept that real change is not passed down from leaders, but rather, it is driven up from the people. Accept the fact that we each have within us the ability and incentive to make things different for our children and grand children.

    The choice we make today will determine the society of tomorrow.


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