Your Legacy Begins Today

Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Rosa Parks

 

Meditations in Motion
Nope, still can’t take a good selfie.

 

Hubby and I met our running buddy Al for a hilly run starting at a church in a very small town near our house. The running group that has now dwindled to just the three of us used to have a name for this route, which I had not run in years – “Pillage in the Village“.

I don’t know why we called it that; although it does begin in a village, the name implies a level of badass far too advanced for our little group of older runners.

The course snakes around in an eventual loop on country roads with no shoulders. The lack of road shoulders was not a problem; we ran for a long time without encountering cars.

Meditations in Motion

We did encounter lots of dairy cows, though. Lancaster County, where I live, is dairy country. Most farms are postage stamp sized, with each farmer growing the corn and soy he needs to support his herd of Holsteins.

Meditations in Motion

As we rounded one corner, I thought I saw some big brown cows off in the distance, frolicking on a hillside. As we got closer, I realized these “cows” were actually bison spurred to kick up their heels by the spring sunshine.

Bison,” I thought at the incongruous sight. “That’s something we never would have seen here when I was a kid.” And, just like that, down I went, into the rabbit hole of remembering the world from my childhood.

Meditations in Motion

One of my fondest memories is of my mother and I snuggled under the blankets reading books before bedtime. Before I was born, my mother had been a teacher of English, French, and Latin; books were important to her.

I can recall imploring her for “just one more book” time after time. She would usually laugh and read “just one more” seven or eight times before she finally tiptoed out of my bedroom and closed the door.

When our children were young, Bill and I continued that practice, reading at first picture books like those from Dr. Seuss, then chapter books like Treasure Island, Charlotte’s Web, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to our three boys.

Meditations in Motion

I recalled my father, who always initiated our family vacations, and his love for travel. We had the typical family beach vacations and trips to a cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but we also traveled to far-flung destinations like Hawaii, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas.

I also remembered one disastrous trip to a campground in a state park about two hours from our house (my sister is now smiling as she reads this). Our family was not a camping family, but we borrowed equipment from a neighbor and thought we would try “roughing it” for a week.

The short story is: we all hated it, but we didn’t want to say anything to the other members of the family since we all thought everyone else was having a good time.

Finally, after a few days, I (the youngest) spoke up. “Let’s go home,” I wailed. That was the excuse my family needed. We packed up camp and spent the rest of our vacation exploring Gettysburg National Military Park, securely and comfortably ensconced in a motel room and eating our meals at restaurants, rather than around a camp stove.

Meditations in Motion

When our boys were young, we shared our love for travel with them, visiting Yellowstone National Park, the Outer Banks, Mexico City, and New Orleans, among other locales, but no campgrounds.

The point is this: my parents imparted a legacy to me, whether they realized it or not. They passed along their love of books and travel (and the Phillies, but that’s another story) and their distaste for camping.

They passed along some more significant attributes also. When I was a youngster, my mother did the grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor each week, from her I learned generosity and service. My father skied and went fly fishing well into his 70s, from him I learned the benefits of living an active lifestyle.

When we think of the term “legacy planning“, it probably brings with it a financial connotation but we are leaving a living legacy with our children (and grandchildren) from the time they are born. Neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers also watch to see how we handle situations. We are role models, like it or not.Meditations in Motion Children see how we interact with others. They are learning from us. If we treat other people with respect and honesty, chances are they will too. If we are always looking for a fight or if we take advantage of those who have less power than we do, kids who watch us will probably follow that example as well.

If social relationships are important to us, there is a good chance they will be to our children; if we do not spend time building our social network, we may be raising children who do not value friendships.

Children raised by insecure and fearful parents have a better chance of growing up with many of their own insecurities and fears. If we live our lives with confidence that we can handle difficult situations, our children will learn courage and fortitude.

Meditations in MotionUnfortunately, saying “Do as I say, not as I do,” is rarely effective. Children can detect hypocrisy from a mile away. Kids learn the most from adults who practice what they preach. If you don’t want your youngsters to sit in the house using technology for hours at a time, put down your phone. The apple doesn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.

Children are watching how we handle conflicts and problems. Want to lose weight but don’t have the will-power to stick to a healthy diet? Our kids see that. Still working at a job you have outgrown or no longer find satisfying? They see that too.

How do you want your children, friends, neighbors, and grandchildren to remember you? Do you want them to think of you as compassionate and courageous, someone who is willing to stand up for their principles, a person who enjoys life? Your legacy begins today. Remember, the children are watching.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.1 Corinthians 10:23

 

I am linking up with Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, and Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

71 comments

  1. Great post, Laurie — full of nostalgia and wisdom. I read my boys “The Chronicles of Narnia” too, and they even sat through my reading them all of “The Lord of the Rings.” And you are spot on about legacies: probably the least important thing we leave behind is money. Just today while talking to a colleague at the middle school where I work I was musing aloud that we’re like construction workers on a cathedral: we’re setting stones in place for what we hope will someday be a magnificent creation that we’ll never see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! What a wonderful analogy, Jan. I never thought about a legacy in that way, but it IS like building one of those great old European cathedrals that take years to complete. We never see the end results, but it does eventually take shape. Your middle schoolers are some of the building blocks in your cathedral!

      Like

  2. I enjoyed this post Laurie – I especially identified with your mom reading you books. My mom did that to me and later I would sit and self-entertain for hours reading my “Golden Books” which I kept in a wicker basket. I am sure I had them memorized. Also the camping trip resonated with me. My father had a coworker who loved camping and my father got the bright idea that one year our family vacation would be a camping trip. My mother was not enthusiastic in the least but he was gung ho, so he went to the sporting goods store and rented a tent and bought air mattresses, a Coleman lantern, cooler and cook stove. “This will be fun” he promised. The first night it poured raining and the tent had a hole. The second night was equally soggy. My mom put her foot down and that was end of the camping, just like your trip – hotels and restaurants the rest of the time away. I was not brave enough to speak up like you were.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have the same memories, Linda. I read lots of Golden books too. I saved some for my grandkids. We just dug them out of the basement a few weeks ago. I am sure I memorized them too. That’s probably how I learned to read. I still would not like to go camping to this day, even though I love the outdoors – you love the outdoors too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Last May my friend in Virginia became a grandmother and I sent her daughter a boxed set of Golden Books for when the baby got older. I am sure he is still too young for those books, but they were so simple and sweet. I grew up in Canada and I don’t recall reading any Winnie the Pooh books, nor Dr. Seuss books (although I watched “The Grinch” movie every year). How nice you saved some of your own books for the grandkids. They will enjoy them I’m sure. I would not like camping either Laurie – I would be too scared of bugs. If I saw a spider or a centipede in the tent, or worse … in my sleeping bag, I would spend the night standing up. I love the outdoors too, but not after dark or sleeping out in the wild!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought it would be different and he’s probably still too young but something to keep for a long time. I don’t think Winnie the Pooh was popular in Canada because I never heard of it before moving here and we are the same age. We never had “The Velveteen Rabbit” either and that is strange as it is a British author and growing up in Canada, you’d think it was one I’d read or been read to.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, but I remember getting a lot of newborn onesies as baby presents when my kids were born. They grow out of them so fast. Books are better. I remember “The Velveteen Rabbit” too, but I liked Pooh better! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s why I wanted to be different and I ordered it from Barnes & Noble who had a great deal on the set with free shipping – I shipped it before the baby was born. My friend said they had a rocker in the bedroom and I pictured sitting there rocking and reading. I happen to collect bears. I never had stuffed animals as a kid as I was allergic to them and when I was a baby I had a big panda bear (bigger than I was, but I was only 4 pounds 11 ounces when I was born) and had a few pictures with it, but then had to get rid of it – years later after getting allergy shots, I could have stuffed animals again. My mom bought me a bear and somehow I started collecting them until there was nowhere to put them anymore … I stopped at 52. No Pooh bears though!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a lovely post Laurie, I’ve never thought of the memories I’m trying to make for my kids as a legacy. It sounds like your own parents left you with a fantastic legacy, what wonderful memories you have. Also what a thing to see on your run, a Bison ! I’ve only ever seen one in a museum. Have a lovely weekend x #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Angela. I didn’t think about it too much when my kids were younger either. It’s only when I became a grandparent that I started thinking about “legacy” more.

      Like

  4. My parents also imparted a love of books & travel. Oddly I do not have memories of my mom reading to me. At all. She must’ve but I don’t remember it. And while they traveled the world, they didn’t take the kids on those travels — up & down the eastern coast, but never west & the only exception was a wonderful trip to Bermuda.

    OTOH, much of my takeaways from my parents are the things I don’t want. I am a very different person from them. And no kids, so no legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, sometimes we have to do much better than our parents. It sounds like that is the case with you, Judy.

      I think, though, that you are leaving a legacy. Even if you don’t have kids, I’m sure you inspire people (me included) you may not even realize you are impacting through your running, your blog, and your friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My legacy, I hope, will be to never give up no matter how hard life gets, never discriminate against race, creed or ability, read lots, learn lots and always be kind. We enjoy our holidays but we are not adventurous. I’ve never taken my kids camping but I used to go with my family when I was a child and we loved it.
    Your post has certainly given me much food for thought x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think children learn so much from traveling. Not only the different places, different cultures, but how to handle unexpected situations, how to interact with different people, being comfortable with unusual circumstances, etc. Your parents taught you well!

      Like

  6. Reading is such a joy! I was the first in my kindergarten class to be able to bring in a book to read aloud – it was Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now”. Granted I don’t know how much of it I was actually reading vs just recalling from memory, but it was still impressive for a youngster. I adored going to the library and came home to knock off a stack of books. Unfortunately my sister never got bit by the reading bug, but it is my hope that whenever I have a niece or nephew someday I can impart my love of reading on them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I just read “Marvin K Mooney” to 2 of my grandsons this week. I love that book! Good for you to be able to read it aloud in kindergarten!!! I hope you get to pass along your love of reading too!

      Like

  7. I want my kids to remember me as a mom who never sat on the sidelines, who was an adventurer at heart, a fun-loving tough cookie who never quits. Pretty sure I’ve succeeded on that. One of my friends once said to me that the kids will never remember the furniture in your house (I was whining about my run-down sofas) but they’ll always remember the fun they had with you.

    Fun fact: My sons’ high school mascot was the Bison!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think of you as an adventurer for sure! And a fun-lover who doesn’t quit. I’m sure that’s how you must seem to pretty much everyone!

      Love the bison mascot!

      Like

  8. IS it safe to assume none of your sons did the Boy Scout thing? Yes, no, maybe? 😉 Our son (and my hubby) did all the scouting stuff (he eventually earned his Eagle at age 14). It was their thing, and I gladly let them go and do all the camping stuff without me LOL Camping is not my gig either…

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of my sons was a Tiger Cub, but he never made it to Boy Scouts (Whew, dodged a bullet there!) My oldest son was in Civil Air Patrol, which is kind of like scouts, but he did the camping without me. Congrats to your son to earn his Eagle badge so young! Way to go!

      Like

  9. The other day I asked my kids what they were going to do with my race medals when I’m gone. Ha! I’m pretty sure they’re going in the trash. Maybe I’ll force them to keep the Boston ones.
    Sadly my parents are great role models of what NOT to do. I definitely watched. And decided I’d live my life differently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought about that. I have a ton of race medals too. I’m sure my kids do not want them! 🙂 I know you wrote about your difficult childhood before. You had to overcome your role models (yay, you!). Good for you for realizing that you needed to figure out a better way to live your life!

      Like

  10. My kids think of me as a type-A work-alholic and are trying not to walk in my footsteps. I love my job but didn’t take enough vacations when they were younger. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • My kids could easily have gotten the same message from me. I used to regularly work 60 – 70 hours per week when they were younger. None of them work that much now! 🙂

      Like

  11. Hi Laurie – perhaps my comment went to SPAM – I have had three bloggers tell me my comments are going straight to their SPAM filter – if not, I’ll redo it this afternoon … personally I don’t think I am a spammy kind of girl. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, I checked my spam folder – nothing from you, but there were definitely some legitimate comments in there. I don’t remember to check my spam folder often enough. Bill and I were away at a race this weekend, so I was a little bit late replying to some comments. Did I miss one of yours? You are definitely not a spammy kind of girl! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, you did reply and I figured you fished it out of SPAM … and I don’t know why so many of my comments are going there. I know you and I both follow Eliza and lately every comment I make goes to her SPAM. I just took a stab at Gutenberg Editor … I was on the fence about launching it … not looking forward to it Laurie, but we are having our Windows 10 debut at work this week or next … depends on when the rest of Phase II is implemented and I know Gutenberg will be foisted on us by month end, so I figured on this rainy, drizzly day, I’d try it out … seemed laborious to me but I think I’ll get used to it eventually. Hope you had good weather for your race. We are having an all-day rain today and many days this week – ugh with a capital “U””.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just left a comment on your post about the new editor! I had no idea we were going to have to switch to Gutenberg so soon. Ugh! OK, I will have to take a look at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A few years ago I subscribed to an e-mail called “WordPress Beginner” which was/is tips for beginners because even though I’d been blogging here for a while, I realized there was more to learn. I got an e-mail a few weeks ago saying the upgrade to WordPress to 5.2 was coming shortly and they told how to disable Gutenberg and keep the Classic Editor. I did not have the plug in installed to thwart Gutenberg so I couldn’t do as they suggested. I looked for the plug in and it appeared it was just on “business” blogs. I have just the premium. I still think you have time before it is forced on us, but I didn’t want to go to write a post and have to deal with it. I don’t care for it – it is slow in my opinion – each new paragraph or new image is a separate “box”. I also follow a blogger in the UK that gives tips on blogging, including “what’s new in WordPress” – he said WordPress would do away with it in 2021 … so that gives me plenty of time to deal with it but I decided to just deal with it now. I don’t much like change. I’ll put Hugh’s link below as well: https://www.wpbeginner.com/news/whats-coming-in-wordpress-5-2-features-and-screenshots/

        https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2019/03/04/have-you-used-the-new-gutenberg-editor/

        Liked by 1 person

      • That e-mail was way over my head – I wrote back and asked him to explain the plug in so he sent me another link and that was way over my head too. At least I could understand Hugh’s post. I don’t know anything about plug ins or coding and I hope that WordPress does updates on my site as I’ve never done anything on it – I asked Anne Mehrling one time if she does since her niece Chrissie is a WP Happiness Engineer and she got her the WordPress site as a Christmas present – Anne said she has never done any updates either. I felt better.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this post! I have a 21 year old son, he respects his girlfriend, he works hard and he shares his opinions. I’m hoping these are lessons he’s learnt from me and his father x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve had some rough camping trips too, like the one were I learned to never touch the top of the tent when it’s raining. Doh. Great bison shot, I happened about a bunch of them on one of my favorite bike trails once, so much better than that mean giant goose that hisses at you when you ride by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no! Sorry you had to learn the hard way. Hubby and I ran a 24-hour relay race in the rain last spring. While it wasn’t camping, we did attempt to stay in a leaky tent, which turned into a muddy, cold mess. We finally wound up sleeping in our cars. It reinforced my “no camping” rule!

      Watch out for those mean geese! 🙂

      Like

  14. Wow, I love this! I loved your camping story!

    It is so important to remember that we have others watching us and wanting to do what we do! I remember this quite often, but more so as I watch my boys strive to be like their father. Last night my husband was telling me that while he was playing horseshoes with our youngest he (my hubby) spit on the ground. He then watched as our youngest, who is 10, did the same! So cute, well not the spitting part, but the watching his dad and wanting to be just like him part. Honestly, I wish he would pick up something else! But it is what it is!

    Thanks for a great post and for linking up with us @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I had to laugh at your spitting story! You could say your son wants to be the “spitting image” of his father! 🙂 Thank you for your comment and the chance to link up! 🙂

      Like

  15. Hi Laurie – I had a couple of links to share with you – going to do it here if that’s okay … I was trying to find your post about the high cholesterol and could not find it. Here is a revised study on eating eggs … I have a hard-boiled egg five days a week – I understood it was okay to eat eggs, maybe not so much according to this article. Didn’t know how often you ate them:

    http://www.thenewsherald.com/downriver_life/regional/are-eggs-good-or-bad-for-you-new-research-rekindles/article_92fa39fd-e175-53eb-9607-be89688b08e2.html?fbclid=IwAR0xRMciDfMyBjxTd4Pqlwk62SV6X-BuPHDYCoCIQt10TTFfpZvLtR3XWIE

    Also I thought this was an interesting story about this young man running in the Boston Marathon today – I’ve not heard how he did.
    https://www.mlive.com/sports/kalamazoo/2019/04/kalamazoo-special-olympics-runner-to-make-history-at-boston-marathon.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • I eat a hard-boiled egg almost every day, but just the egg white. I never liked the yolks. My sister and I used to split an egg – I would eat the white and she would eat the yolk. I recently read a column by Dr. Oz about how bad egg yolks are for you. I occasionally used to eat scrambled eggs or over easy, but I probably won’t now.

      Thank you for the links. I always watch the Boston Marathon. I love that race. The cheering crowd makes runners feel like a rock star the whole duration of the race, even if you are a relatively slow runner like me. I will enjoy the article about the young man, I am sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’d better stop with hard-boiled eggs as well. I have one in the morning with my oatmeal to kind of balance out the carbs/fruit (I put raisins or dried blueberries/cranberries in my oatmeal) with some protein. I’ll just eat the whites too I guess. Years ago they said eggs were bad for you, then wavered on it and they were okay to eat. Just like the whole milk we discussed before – once the National Dairy Association or Council said to embrace full-fat dairy I went for it big-time. I heard an interview with this young man this morning – it was an inspiration. My dentist ran in the Boston Marathon last year – first time. He said runners told him not to just say you ran the Boston Marathon, but the 2018 version.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, after reading that article, it does seem like it is a good idea to eat them very sparingly. I used to feed my yolks to Benji, but now I think they must be bad for him, so maybe I will forgo them altogether. I think I am going to try Egg Beaters. Bill ate them when he was on a low carb diet years ago and he said he liked them. I think oatmeal is one of the best things you can eat. The soluble fiber it contains is so good for you.

        Oh, yes…the 2018 Boston marathon was one for the books! The rain and wind were incredible. Kudos to your dentist!

        Liked by 1 person

      • And after reading the article, I will finish these up and stop eating them altogether as well. Eggs are good for your B vitamins and your eyes, but giving you high cholesterol is not good. I have heard Egg Beaters are good as well. Yesterday’s Boston marathon started out with bad weather as well, but not as bad. I follow the dentist office on Facebook and he didn’t mention how he did, so he links to his personal site – looks like he was at the Masters on Sunday, so guess he decided against it this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I love your memories of reading with your mother and how lovely that you handed that kind of memory down to your own children. The camping story made me smile too – I have to confess that I’m not a fan of camping either! So true that children learn from what we model for them. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I became so aware of that fact when I was a teacher. The kids in my class definitely learned from my actions far more than my words. I love to be out in nature during the day, but I like a comfortable bed to retire to at night – not a tent! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Such a great post, Laurie! All the feels and wisdom. Thank you for taking us down memory road with your parents growing up. We actually love camping, but we recently got a camper. So, I don’t know if I could go back to tent camping now. Lol! #LiveLifeWell

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s