No doubt as we approach the back-nine segment of our short temporal lives, we start poring over the likely things that are past beyond our sojourn here. When our bodies start the descent toward the sunset of its existence, we start worrying about what worthy mementoes to leave behind for our progeny, things which will endure beyond the years after our lives. We weigh and sift through about some things fleeting, and about those that endure. Fleeting because we live life in the flesh, but lasting because we believe in a soul and an afterlife. Man being an inextricably composite being.
We are talking therefore about legacies to be bequeathed. Public officials and corporate bigwigs all the way to presidents and heads of state constantly talk about them, prepare for them, or gear their consequential actuations with them in mind. So why not the ordinary mortal man?
So what should we think about during our greying years?
Many of us would focus on non-material things, rather than the temporal wealth which many view as not only petty and mundane but by their earthbound nature as beneath bequeathing to beloved children or grandchildren weaned on noble and mystical dreams. We constantly are reminded that we should not leave much material wealth since they are prone to spoiling the receiver, dissipate their passion and intensity for living, deprive them of the purifying challenges necessary to make their lives more purposeful, etc. But again we remind that man lives life in the flesh with all its wants and needs, and the easier that process is the better for him to think about his nobler goals and purposes. Expressed differently, man is more able to contemplate at the stars if he is not constantly looking on the ground for his food and sustenance.
So with that in mind, we proceed to the task at hand. What should our legacies be to the generation/s that come after us?
For something more enduring and noble, we earnestly wish that the things we taught them, the examples that we lovingly provided, would all carry over to them like genes or DNA encoded in their very bodies and souls. For we believe that would truly be timeless legacy. And we add the caveat that defines our honesty, that everything we pass on to them we not only believe in but that we earnestly pursued them in our own lives.
But for more temporal legacies we can list a few.
Provision of shelter, adequate and decent, is one driving concern of modern families which lifelong pursuit eats up a good part of their time and resources. A crucial and necessary accoutrement for living productive and decent lives, lives with integrity worthy of his kind. And many lives have been less than commendable because of the dearth of good shelter, coupled and in tandem with the scarcity of financial provisions for the family.
A good many of us spend our productive lives in employment. From the start of our education we already have conditioned ourselves how we can become good, loyal, and faithful employees. Of course we do not discount the fact that we would prefer being employed doing things that suit our likes and disposition. Still many are employed concerned more about what that employment brings to the family and its existence rather than how well liked or adjusted one is to the employment.
Wouldn’t it be a great legacy therefore to leave behind some business or enterprise that our progeny can continue after? Many current entrepreneurs started much like that, inheriting the business from their well-provisioned ancestors. And then on their own made the business even bigger and greater than before. Look around and you will see how true this is in real life.
Molding leaders rather than followers would indeed be a great legacy to leave. Being in business and striking on your own is one surefire way to test not only one’s acumen and wits, but also bring out and hone leadership qualities dreamed only by many.
Personally, imagine this as coming from one veteran of various employment. If after years of employment, one engages in economic activities on his own one then experiences a role quite alien, from the learned perspective of an employee to that of employer. In other words, after looking at things from one perspective, one suddenly opens a vista where one looks at things from the other side.
A chance to look at things differently, and more importantly, to complete and round off the economic picture so commonplace in our lives today.
Get a chance to see how the other lives, the other side that has so few select members, and so uniquely privileged in many areas such as opportunities and access to the many beneficial things in life brought by progress and wealth. And thus a chance to live a more fulfilled life.
For most of us, Mother Teresa was the epitome and icon of personal sanctity, given what she exhibited in her solitary life in the mean streets of India and thereabouts. But I also find Bill Gates as another likely example in a similar vein and on a grander scale. A philanthropist on steroids who can declare with effective intention to an entire impoverished nation in Africa that he will undertake to educate all of its little children so that they can realistically hope for a better life for themselves and their families. An entire nation given the opportunity to live better lives. And now in terms of impact and efficacy that is really something!