I’ve been in a whirlwind of reflection for the last number of days. I spent part of Saturday at a funeral for a man who I never had the privilege to meet and whose wife I have worked with in a volunteer capacity and respect and admire greatly.
He was taken far too young and leaves behind his loving wife, a child in elementary school and a very large circle of family and close friends.
This blog, though, is not about grief or sadness. It’s not about mourning or loss. It’s about being inspired. Being inspired by someone I’ve never met who, through the stories I’ve heard and the photos I’ve seen, just seemed to ‘get it’.
Shannon L Alder once said, “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
This last week has been a good reminder for me that life isn’t about the laundry list of things you’ve done or accomplished. Nobody looks back on a life and recites a detailed resume of what you got done. What they do look back on, and an important thing for all of us to remember as we navigate this crazy world, is “how” you did the things that you did.
And it has become increasingly apparent to me over the past few days that the “how” is actually what our kids will pick up on the most. Are we kind? Do we give back? Are we supportive? Do we laugh? Do we think about others? Do we help friends when they need it? Do we express how we feel? Do we smile when our kids come into a room?
These are simple things and likely the things our kids will remember about us. These are the things that are soaked up by little eyes and little ears when we aren’t even aware that we are teaching them something.
I left Saturday’s funeral with great admiration for a man who seemed to have his priorities straight. I left with great reminders about loving the people around us, giving back to our community, not taking life – or yourself – too seriously, embracing moments and being a role model for the generations coming behind you. These are the gifts he has left as his legacy and I’m confident that these gifts will last a lifetime in his child.
“The choices we make about the lives we live determine the legacies we leave.” – Tavis Smiley.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller
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