What will your legacy be? It’s a question that I regularly ask the Year 8 children in particular as they move steadily through their final year. Admittedly most have never even considered that they might even have a legacy to leave, let alone what it might be. I pose it for a good reason as I want them to really try and consider how they can make a difference in their school and how they can positively impact on the lives of those around them.
The question for all of us is an interesting one – does it really matter what I’m like, how I behave or what others think of me? Our culture often depicts an individualistic route through life. The idea of looking after number one and following those goals or dreams at all costs. The notion that life is all about an end point and the route taken; the journey itself doesn’t seem to matter at all.
However, when we stop to think about and really consider this idea of legacy, it becomes clear that there is a great deal to the idea. We can, each of us, remember individuals who have positively influenced our own lives. Their kindness, their attitudes, their words, have struck a chord with us and planted a seed in how we behave or the paths that we followed. We can recall their impact in many different ways and equally on those who behaved in perhaps the opposite way.
Our children should be surrounded by those who want to leave lasting legacies. Admittedly it is sometimes hard for children to grasp that concept and mistakes will, of course, be made along the way. However, it shouldn’t stop us from reminding them that they will be remembered and they have a choice about what that memory looks like. The challenge is not to try and be perfect or to be liked by everyone. The challenge is to be authentic, to be kind, to show courage and give everything a go. In that way we will create young people who will flourish throughout their lives. They will be the sort of people who inspire confidence, who build good relationships and who leave behind lasting legacies – an indelible mark that stands the test of time.