Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A legacy worth cherishing

With the recent death of Steve Jobs, much has been written about his legacy. What will he be remembered for? Not having drunk the Apple Kool-aid, I’m not terribly concerned about where the company is headed without him. He was certainly an innovator, but there are others, possibly in large part thanks to his creations. That should be sufficient legacy for anyone, I would think.

The question did start an interesting discussion with Hubby. Do we have a legacy? Do I? What do I want to be remembered for? Is being remembered by future generations truly a driving force for some people? I’ve never understood the desire to see monuments and buildings carrying the family name. It’s not something I need or want.

Certainly as a writer, I hope my work (if I ever manage to publish something substantial) will be remembered. But me personally? Not so much. I’ve never had enough of a concept of self-worth to consider such an eventuality, and I don’t see that as something that will change in my next fifty years.

However, a gentle prod from the universe reminded me of the legacy I’ve already helped produce – our children. One is easy-going, letting life happen and pretty much riding the wave and living for today (like Hubby). The other is much more focused, task-driven, with at least one eye on the future, determined to finish something of note (like me, only more so). Fortunately Hubby and I have moved from our extremes to a more compatible center and don’t drive each other too crazy; not sure the kids will ever meet in the middle, but they’ve outgrown the teenage antagonism.

Now they’re of an age where life decisions are more profound. I’m pleased they still come to us for advice, and actually seem to listen to what we have to say. This week when my mom-gene kicked in to worry over what-ifs of the directions they seem to be heading, I had not one pleasant surprise, but two.

Somehow, in the chaos of our life, we managed to raise a couple of pretty smart kids, wise beyond what I expected to hear when I expressed my fears. To the laid-back child, I reiterated our “use your head” mantra from their childhood, all while hoping heart would not be silenced. To the Type-A child, I urged listening to the heart while keeping the head in counselor mode. It was only after I offered these words that I realized how they reflected the lessons of our marriage onto our next generation – balance.

I was humbled when both children responded with thoughtful, reasoned positions on the decisions they face, and an awareness of the future potential of their actions for not only themselves, but for the greater community. We must have done something right, and I am awed by the living outcomes.

I could ask for no greater legacy.

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