A very wise man whom I admire very much recently told me that success is nothing if there is no successor. Without someone to pass the baton to, any success you may have just amounts to having fun and living a good life, and once you die it ceases to be success.
When I was young, my parents along with a few other ministers taught me about generational curses. These are the negative patterns, the seemingly unbreakable chains, that bind people in certain lineages.
If you've ever been to an AA meeting, you know that they believe in something similar. They believe that their addiction is a genetic disease, something passed down to them through their anscestors that they cannot help and can only hope to ignore.
Many cultures believe in concepts similar to that of the generational curse. For some it's knowledge that somehow gets passed down through bloodlines. For some, it's a god - My parents worshipped this god, this is our family god, and thus I must worship this god.
Over and over again we see this theme: Legacy. Whether it's a burning desire to leave something behind or an overwhelming feeling that the things that are wrong in your life are just the way it has to be, we all are affected by legacy.
So what does legacy mean to you? Is it positive, or negative? What do you feel is the legacy you've been left with, and what legacy will you leave to those who follow after you?
Dearest and I understand how legacy works. You live your life, and - whether intentionally or not - you train someone to follow in your footsteps. Once those footsteps are there, once that trail has been blazed, it's incredibly difficult to vary from it. We know this from personal experience. There is a legacy of poverty, poor anger management, and alcoholism in both sides of our families. My parents, and his sweet mom, have all done a lot to start cutting new paths. But unfortunately they still wrestled with the same issues - and some of them are still issues for them to this day.
We each decided individually that we weren't going to follow those paths. Then, when we met each other, we decided together that we were not only going to stray from the paths that generations of our families have walked (divorce, alcohol and drug addictions, etc.). We decided also that we're going to carve new paths for ourselves and our children, paths they won't have any need or reason to turn from. For us, legacy is a big deal because the legacy has to start with us. Prosperity leading to great generosity, freedom, unwavering integrity, unshakable faith, leadership, and a driving desire to use one's talents for the good of others are all very difficult paths to cut. But not only to we want to leave this legacy for our children, these footsteps for them to follow; we know that we do not honorably have any other choice.
Just to clarify: This is not to say that either of our sets parents are bad people, or bad parents, or that they didn't try to do what was best for us. They did. But I don't think that most people start their marriages or start building their families with an understanding of just how important what you do with every moment of every day is to the future of your kids. And if they do, it's an incredibly overwhelming thought!
We, understanding these things (thanks to our mentors) and what we can do about them, just feel that we have a responsibility to carve these paths. Our legacy will be an entirely new set of generational cycles. Where there was poverty there will be prosperity. Where there was divorce there will instead be marriages that last 70, 80, 100 years - until death does part them.
That's the legacy we are determined to pass on. What legacy are you leaving, and who are you leaving it to?