LEGACY—Something handed down from a predecessor.
A question was asked, “When you lay in your coffin what would you like to hear others say about you during their eulogy?”
What would you like your wife, child, friend, co-worker or “dog” to say is the legacy you left behind? How do you want to be remembered and for what would you like to be remembered?
How important is it to you to think about your legacy and how you contributed to those whose lives you have touched to lead a better and more meaningful life?
To paraphrase a quote about teachers, “You do effect eternity, you will have influenced and impacted the life of others.”
What would you like that influence to have been?
“From you I received my life-long love of reading, science, and learning in general, although in retrospect I believe the greatest thing you taught us was how to think, not what. As an adult with children of my own, my only regret is that you could not be their teacher too. Thank you so much.”
I have been getting email and Facebook communications from students who were in my 4th and 5th grade classes over 40 years ago. One email I received was from Daniel, who had been in my 1972 5th grade class. He wrote:
“Dear Mr. Percy. I know it must be a tedious job trying to remember all the children you have educated over the years, however rest assured we all remember you. As one of your students at P.S. 289 you bestowed upon me the moniker the ‘Soul Droll.’ I still remember going to the dictionary to look up the word ‘droll’ and laughing when I found out what it meant (droll is defined as having a humorous, whimsical, or odd quality).
“Whenever I run into an old classmate the conversation inevitably changes into, ‘I wonder how Mr. Percy is doing?’ When I learned of your email address I realized that I finally had a chance to thank you for the tremendous impact which you made on my life. From you I received my life-long love of reading, science, and learning in general, although in retrospect I believe the greatest thing you taught us was how to think, not what. As an adult with children of my own, my only regret is that you could not be their teacher too. Thank you so much. You are a major reason why I remember my childhood with fondness.”
I was greatly touched by Daniel’s email. I KNEW I had indeed had a lasting impact that my student remembered with fondness. But it took some 40 years to learn about the impact I had on Daniel.
A particular quote has been very instrumental in helping me to understand the legacy I want to be remembered for. I want to be remembered for being great, as defined by L. Ron Hubbard in his article, “What Is Greatness?”
“Happiness and strength endure only in the absence of hate. To hate alone is the road to disaster. To love is the road to strength. To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. And may very well be the greatest secret in this universe.”
I will admit it is not very easy or simple to love in spite of it all. The harmful actions of others—lies, negativity, deceitful comments, vicious innuendoes, degrading sentiments—abound in our mass media. To degrade and constantly find fault with those who may have a different reality has far too often become the norm.
I am proud to be a Scientologist, yet when I see the fabrications and misrepresentations made about Scientology, I must admit I do have some problems to love in spite of it all. I don’t like it.
I do want to be great, and what helps me in this is another statement from an article by L. Ron Hubbard:
“I like people who see the reactive complexities of their fellows. And who see right down to the basic goodness of all men, and who try to do their share to help Man escape the treadmill of other-determined behavior patterns.”
A legacy I want to be known for is that I helped others believe in the basic goodness of man, and that I helped others to escape from behavior patterns that did not align with their basic goodness.
AND I did not hate, in spite of it all.