This article in my Ohana (family history) software newsletter April 2010 was so good, I decided to post it today in its entirety while I'm out of town again on family business. Try some of these ideas or tell us of things you've done to leave a legacy.
A Day to Day Legacy by Andrea Schnakenburg
These past couple weeks I had the opportunity to have my mother-in-law come to stay. It was during these weeks that I realized just how important it is to think about the legacy we are leaving. Over the course of my mother-in-law's stay, I saw her set small goals and accomplish amazing legacy leaving things in spite of the medical distractions in her life. For her it was as simple as writing names on the backs of pictures, and contacting family. Seeing her progress was a great reminder of how important it is to consider what actions we take each day to day. A legacy can be so much more than pictures and stories. In my opinion one of the most powerful ways to leave a legacy is to create wonderful memories in the minds and hearts of those we love. And today I'd like to leave a few creative activities for you to try as you leave a little bit of legacy each day.
~Schedule a a special date with you and a child or grandchild. Have a picnic lunch at the park and relive some fun memories. Act out one or more of your fun childhood memories with kids. They will remember that one-on-one time for many years to come.
~Bring some old family photos over to a close family member to see if you can find out who looks like who in your family tree. For example, many people tell me I look an awful lot like my grandma Belle. This simple activity may help kids and grand kids find a hero in an ancestor and know more about the wonderful ancestors they take after. You may be surprised what a small child will remember and tell their friends at school.
~Scanning and labeling pictures can get dull at times. Try adding personality traits and stories as you labels pictures. This will bring these ancestors to life long after you are gone. plus, it will ad some variety to the tedious work of scanning and labeling.
~Start a story tree. Pick a favorite memory and write your version of the story. Then send it to two people who would also remember the story. They can then add their opinion as well as another favorite story and pass it on again. This can be done with as many people as possible. Just remember to save a copy whenever it comes back to you. This way everyone gets a say it how things really happened and laugh at the comments and stories that other people add.
The last idea I leave you is the one that I've felt inspired to take on:~ Take a story from your life that teaches a lesson or value. Record the story along with your testimony of that value. You can e-mail it out or go more creative with an actual bound children's book that tells the story. This will help your posterity both learn and grow as well as get to know you. I wish you all the best as you leave your legacy today, tomorrow and the next day.