Creating A Legacy

By Diana Galloway - 10/19/2023


Last Thanksgiving, it was important for my adult children to gather with their spouses and grandchildren. It had become apparent that Thanksgiving did not hold the same value to my children as it did to me.

“Legacy is not what I did for myself. I’m doing it for the next generation.” – Vitor Belfort.

My childhood memories of Thanksgiving are filled with smells, extended family, and anticipation as we eagerly awaited my grandmother to announce the turkey was done. The next few moments would be a scurry of movement as the gravy thickened and the last few dishes were placed at the large tables. What took hours would be finished in 15 minutes, but those memories are treasured.

So how do families transfer what is important to our changing world as our priorities and food consumption change? Do we require our offspring to continue a tradition for the tradition’s sake? Should they make grandmother’s cranberry jello even though no one eats it?

A better question begins with what is essential to share with future generations. The answer does return the memories surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. While I may love pumpkin pie and the smell of turkey, millennials or Gen X may prefer a different menu. When asked, most agreed the family gathering was important. The passing of the dish should be the focus, not what is inside the emphasis.

How can we move this concept from one day a year to incorporate other traditions, mindsets, and ideas?

Create your own family matters worth sharing list. Here are a few ideas.

  • Faith and spirituality
  • Traditions
  • Financial advice
  • Family values
  • Hobby how-tos
  • Cooking – not just recipes
  • Child-rearing advice
  • Advice on education
  • Advice on relationships
  • Caring for the environment
  • Giving back, gratitude, and serving

The process will not only allow you to reflect on what is of value to share, but it also allows for an opportunity to reflect on your values. A little reflection can highlight some inconsistencies in current behaviors and mindsets. As a family, we are working towards creating our legacy. We did find gaps in our expression of the importance of faith, servitude, and sharing traditions. The good news is that we started the process.

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” ― David Viscott

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