A Sustainable Legacy

To be a successful father, you must keep two thoughts in the forefront of your mind: 1) do all within your power to leave the world in better condition than you found it and 2) strive daily to leave to leave better children for the world. Both are necessary to leaving a sustainable legacy of wise stewardship.

In my experience, the former happens primarily at work, while the latter work out when I am at home or on vacation. I think about both all of the time, in fact, thoughts about me or my needs seldom punctuate the steady flow of ideas, plans and action steps that I hope will accomplish my goal of successful fatherhood. It’s not that I don’t enjoy myself, neither do I feel myself a martyr for the cause of the future, but I recognize as I have mentioned on occasion that my fulfillment depends squarely on my ability to assist others to their fulfillment.

Enough about me, what about you? On which topics are the bulk of your mental calories burnt? I find it encouraging when you voice agreement with my thoughts and ideas (and enlivening when you don’t), but I find it seriously inspiring when I hear how you – in specific terms – are working to leave the world a better place and if applicable, to leave better children for the world we are so privileged to share.

14 thoughts on “A Sustainable Legacy

  • Ah, how to leave this world a better place for our having passed through it, a very good question. We often seem to think that we can not do that, that we are not important enough, strong enough, rich enough, etc., not realizing that the change that is needed first must start inside each of us. We ALL are the change. Each of us. Every thought, action, emotion – these are the changes for a better world to leave behind us, or a poorer one. Each person that I meet this day, in any way, gives me the opportunity to change myself and the world of which I am a part. That awareness is the beginning for all of us. The ripples going forever outward without end. And from these can come the changes that our world desperately needs to save it.

    • Limiting thoughts limit the expression of value, even if the value is present in potential and ripe for expression. Great point, Carmen!

  • From the moment my first child was born my concern has been that they discover their purpose and recognize their responsibilty is not just to themselves but they see themselves in the larger context. I believe we do come with specific “ordained” attributes and a purpose to be achieved using them. This understanding is available to each person and is revealed as our higher nature becomes the guidance system for the individual. Giving our children a model of a person who thinks and acts as a responsible citizen who’s contribution counts is essential.

  • Each one has a legacy to leave to the world. As we’ve missed or taken advantage of opportunities to fill it, we come to today. My world is whatever is on my plate today. I appreciate your question as to what will cosume the bulk of my thoughts today. Is it what ever appears to have been missed or what is there now that is still a possibility? Our legacy is a part of a greater legacy and that thought alone is enough to prompt action to ensure my commitments are realized. Great post, thanks!

    • Vain regrets about the past are meaningless. A wise consideration of present opportunities can go a long way to maximizing your legacy, no matter how old you are or bad you’ve been!

  • The bulk of my thoughts rest on how I can do my best in anything that I do – whether it’s a conversation with a friend, helping a co-worker, at home with my family or working on an artistic project. If I can feel good about how I have helped others during the day then I can sleep well at night. I think the most important thing of all is how I treat others (with respect and kindness) and hope that will make a difference in the world.

  • I think that one of the most important things I can do to make improvements to the world is to let go of a critical attitude towards everything. I know that seems counter intuitive, and there is nothing wrong with seeing the problems in the world, but pointing them out constantly is usually not going to help anything. If I see a problem, I need to make sure that I am not doing it, and move on. An inspirational approach is always going to get more traction than a nagging approach. There are enough critics in the world, and most people know what is wrong with things. What we are missing are the people that are willing to make the changes in themselves, which I think is a great leverage point to start making the world a better place.

  • Thanks for expanding more on the nature of Fatherhood. For someone without offspring of my own I see how it applies to the living of life. A good bulk of my time is taken with making health matters sensible and inspirational. I love the field of health education and am constantly thinking of ways to make things simple and meaningful. I love encouraging the evidences of health through people.

    • Your patients are you children in many ways, Dr. Steve, as are any health care professional’s. That relationship requires a careful balance of something akin to the parent-child dynamic followed by the willingness to let them assume full responsibility for their health care decisions.

      • Thanks Gregg. That is an excellent way to describe the process as a health care professional. Such simple words give great meaning.

  • Some of the toughest decisions in life, those that serve as turning points that will change the the course of your life forever, are indeed very delicate and need to be weighed and considered very carefully. You have on one side the personal – you as you currently know yourself with all the aspirations, talents and limitations. First of all, that doesn’t always even get a fair assessment as human tendency is to emphasize strengths and downplay weaknesses. On the other side, you have the impersonal, the world beyond which your life has field access to accomplish something – this in my opinion has to be impersonal, towards the service of something else besides yourself if your life is to have any balance and meaning. So already you can see how important it is to turn our focus outward.
    You can never know the outcome beforehand – how things will specifically turn out, but in trust of this principle and carrying that trust through day by day, you can rest assuredly that it will be right and proper in due time, that things will organize themselves accordingly. That may not make the decision at first easy as there are conflicting desires and the world at large always tells you in every conceivable way to ‘take care of #1’. but you will develop the proper attitude to life this way. I can only testify from personal experience, through various successes and failures along the way, and every true success was one where my trust and focus was beyond what I thought of myself. We were never meant to be the center of the world, collectively and certainly not individually so how can decisions really be made based on personal gain?

  • In review again, this makes perfect sense.
    I have been working on being certain my hearts centering is bang on, prior to expressing with the children. Having 3 for whom I am responsible, can certainly be challenging, yet I have been noticing that they are actually learning, may-be even more than me!
    Seeking to handle their raising differently than my own is top shelf to me, and learning from my wife, and her ability to let go of the rigid way, is awesome and applicable in so many other departments.

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