I’m just going to start this little blog post and then send it out into cyberspace, knowing that I’ll have to come back and rewrite or add or possibly even turn it into a book. Who knows?
But I just got done reading the blog of one of my former students, Abbie Reynolds (yes, I know I just pushed her blog the other week; can I help it if she’s good?), and specifically this post, and I have to say: it just tickled the crap out of me.
I didn’t raise Abbie. Was only intimately involved in her and her family’s life for a period of five or so years (though we have kept in touch, proof of which is the 5,000,000 reference letters I’ve written and still write for this chick). But in reading that blog post I felt an overwhelming sense that I had somehow contributed something worthwhile to her life. I can say that because she refers to me in the post (“Grammar Nazi” – which, honestly, should be more like “Punctuation Nazi”). And, because she reads my blog and maybe learned a little somethin’-somethin’ from moi. But that’s beside the point.
The point is, I have spent hours pouring into the lives of other people, most of whom were students between the terrible ages of 12 and 18, many of whom, I am proud to say, I still keep in touch with. When my life ends, and the accomplishments I’ve racked up are counted, the few things that will mean the most to me will be the legacy I leave my wife, my kids, and my students. I pray that I can be the kind of man that leaves people better for having met me, the kind of man that sees that part of humanity that God called “very good” when He was done creating it. I pray that I can invest into the lives of other people and enjoy watching that investment pay off, not in any direct way (I don’t particularly care to be mentioned by name in award acceptance speeches, especially after seeing “In & Out” with Kevin Kline), but in the fact that the folks I’ve invested in go on to lead meaningful lives.
I know that people make choices, and that there are going to be times when someone elects to do other than what I (or their parents or friends or family) would hope; but I still believe, at the end of the day, that a generation of mature, insightful, thoughtful individuals might be the best legacy that I could ever leave.
What do you think? What makes a lasting legacy?