By James E. Copple
My parents weren’t wealthy and left little personal property. I have the wallet my father was carrying when he died – it had a five-dollar bill in it that I can’t bring myself to spend. Beyond that, there is nothing tangible.
But in the precious intangibles, I have inherited a rich legacy of core-beliefs and values. There are the memories; the ideas; reflections on long conversations and the disciplines my father instilled in his children. I have my mother’s passion for life and the memories of her smile – God she had a beautiful smile. She taught me to never to give up. I digress.
I wish I had been more intentional about understanding the legacy bequeathed me by parents and ancestors, one I squandered because of time or lack of interest. I didn’t dig deep, nor did I explore subjects that would have given me a better understanding of their stories. “Squandered” is the right word for my failure to learn and understand. As I become “long in the tooth,” to use a phrase of my grandparents’ generation, I am thinking about the legacy I will leave for my family.
I have written a book, “I Believe: Daily Reflections on a Journey,” that speaks to beliefs deep and profound, as well as some that may appear trivial. These commonsense statements could influence behavior or attitudes, and maybe they open an opportunity to think, understand or start new conversations. It is about the power of remembrance and truths that stand the test of time.
The Legacy Project is designed to encourage and facilitate a process where baby-boomers begin thinking about their intellectual, religious, political and social legacy. What do you want to leave behind? Examples from my own journey that will be part of the legacy inherited by my children and grandchildren include the following:
1. Never give up on a child.
2. “By the will of God, everything I endeavor to do will be done with 100 percent effort …”
3. Listen before speaking, and be sure speaking is followed by action.
4. Never make assumptions.
5. You have received grace – be sure to give grace.
These are only a few of the I BELIEVES that are part of my personal legacy. I am challenging everyone I meet to begin thinking about their legacy. You need to be specific and think about those “remembrances” that will travel across generations.
Take this opportunity to reflect and build a foundation for a legacy that can enrich and strengthen the life of family, friends and neighbors.
Go to www.webelievestatements.com. On that site, you can start building your I BELIEVE statements – do it today!
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