What Legacy do You Leave?
My granddaughter called the other day. Her voice quivered with excitement. As a newly minted graduate with a master’s in public administration and an emphasis on non-profits, the Covid 19 world had not made it easy to locate work.
“I’ve got the second interview with a non-profit that uses aviation as an outreach tool for under-served children. I told them my Nana was a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot WWII (a WASP) and the folks nearly jumped over me in delight.”
“A WASP? Why those were kick-ass, amazing women,” proclaimed the head interviewer. “You’ve got aviation in your blood!”
I smiled in delight to think that Mom’s great granddaughter spontaneously brought up a service Mom had performed many decades before. Thinking of Mom and her tenacity, courage and willingness to do what many would not do, I began to wonder what kind of legacy am I leaving for my grandchildren?
I won’t be a maker of aviation history. And I certainly will not be an astronaut, or the first woman president BUT, I believe we all are leaving traces behind in our actions that influence another generation.
Today, we are swirled in a stew of hatred, lies, bullying, and threats to the very legacy that Lincoln espoused in his Gettysburg address—“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Lincoln didn't propose a nation of people who looked alike, sounded alike, and thought alike. He didn’t say that only the 1% will inherit the earth. He didn’t say a nation that created laws only to advance certain people over others. In fact, if Lincoln were to appear today, I believe his heart would be broken.
As trite as this might sound, the legacy I am working on is to be known as a decent human being. So I decided to write actions that hallmark a decent human being. See what you think. Add to it. And let me know what you add. I think that together, we can get to that government Lincoln wanted.
A decent human being,
is kind and compassionate to others,
tells the truth,
refuses to name-call, bully, demean, or degrade,
seeks to help others and not just herself,
admits mistakes, seeks to improve, and shares knowledge and seeks it from others,
a decent human being is one who doesn’t agree with her strongest opponent but figures how to work with them,
a decent human being has integrity and respect for others and
a decent human being cares for this planet in all its many varieties.
And to this you would add……..