A Legacy Beyond Heirs

Most of us want to be remembered after our death, after all, being memorialized is a form of never ending life. Many of us remember and honor those who came before us – our Fathers, Mothers, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents and hope that our heirs will pass along at least part of our own story.

But what if you don’t have heirs? What if your heirs are worthless no good people? What if your heirs are selfish, unthinking, uncaring and you don’t believe they will accept or pass along the legacy you want to to leave?

How can you leave a legacy without heirs? Use your life to touch others and the world around you.

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Benjamin Franklin

Inspire others.

Become part of a great social cause that will be remembered for decades, such as Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. You may not become the focus of history by taking your action, many had defied the rules imposed by the whites in the south before Rosa Parks. By taking their individual actions, each advanced the cause of civil liberties and racial equality.

Be an example to show others the way. One of my bosses in a job I used to have led an exemplary work life, showing us, through his words and actions, how to be true to ourselves and our company. Someone in your own life has inspired you, a teacher, a co-worker, a neighbor or a preacher perhaps. Pass inspiration onto others by sharing your strengths and working through your weaknesses.

Document the story of your family.

You are related to someone somewhere. Research the heros and heroines in your family and make note of family member contributions to ideals and causes you feel were important. Share the story by contributing it to an archive, sharing online or passing along in a letter or email to someone else. Use the examples to teach and illustrate in your daily life.

Elevate humanity’s future.

Contribute time, words and/or money to something that will elevate humanity’s future.

“No man is an island, No man stands alone”, are the words to a Joan Baez song from the 1970’s. Each one of us, contributing our part – no matter how big or small – changes the course of history and the planet. Touch a child’s mind to ignite their curiosity. Stand shoulder to shoulder with others protecting the environment. Buy shares in a company reaching for the stars. Vote for the person who will do the best job. Seek to discover knowledge lost. Seek to discover new knowledge.

Help humanity or country make a leap in development.

History sometimes remembers those who did things such as discover electricity, invent the first light-bulb, set aside lands for parks and more. We are all taught the great names that get recorded in the history books. But all great achievements build on prior advancements in knowledge, technology and availability of material. Computers have changed our world, yet the first computer was merely an advancement on prior developments.

Record your accomplishments.

Although your actions may influence the world and those around you, if no one knows about what you have said, done, thought or believed, your personal legacy will not be remembered. Record it, or make sure others do so and share it with others if you want it remembered. There have been huge numbers of people leaving a legacy of great accomplishments that never made it to the history books – contributions of women, of slaves, of minority members of the population all made significant contributions to our history and world, yet remain in obscurity. Everyone is indebted to that first human who discovered fire, yet that person’s identity is lost to time.

What legacy beyond heirs are you creating?

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