Friday, February 13, 2009

How is Your Legacy Coming Along?

I walked into a client's building today and the security guard said "I saw your name in the obituaries today".

I replied "Really?  Maybe I am not really here today" and laughed.  As I watched, the security guard brought up this obituary.

Harry Tucker, Bell Island
Born in St Phillips, Newfoundland, Canada

In loving memory of a dear husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who passed away 20 years ago today.

Silent sorrow remains a constant heartache but loving memories are left to share.

Till we meet again - Evelyn and family.

The obituary that I was looking at was honoring the 20th anniversary of my grandfather's passing.

My grandfather left an amazing legacy - a legacy of a hard worker who put food on the table for 12 kids.  A legacy of a quiet man who went about his business without interfering with anyone.  A legacy of a man who could outwit the craftiest of people and was no one's fool

I ran into someone a couple of weeks ago who looked at me and said "You're "Happy's" son, aren't you?".

I replied in the affirmative (smiling at the nickname that my father had when he was younger).

The person I was speaking to immediately started telling me stories of my grandfather and the fond memories he had of him and the contributions that he made from 30, 40 or more years ago.  That is a legacy.

I'll share one of those stories because it makes me laugh every time someone recounts it to me.

My grandfather was once asked to build a chimney for someone who had a reputation for not paying people for services rendered.  Even though my grandfather was cautioned not to do the work for fear of not being paid, he built the chimney anyway.

Sure enough, the man who had commissioned my grandfather hemmed and hawed over whether he would pay him or not.  When the first fire was lit, it was discovered that the smoke came back into the house instead of going up the chimney.  Peering up into the chimney, no discernible reason for this was evident.

My grandfather indicated that if the man paid him, he would fix the problem immediately.  Accepting his payment, my grandfather carried a large rock up to the top of the chimney and dropped it down the shaft, breaking the pane of glass that he had intentionally placed across the chimney.  He had anticipated this event and played it perfectly.

All these years later, people remember him for events like this.

How will people remember you?

Will you fade into obscurity, remembered by immediate family or close friends only?  Will your legacy extend only a generation or so and then disappear with no visible impact?

Or will your legacy live well beyond your years, going beyond friends and family such that complete strangers can walk up to your children's children and say "Did you ever hear the story of ...." as your grandchildren feel their heart swell up with pride for being descended from someone who had such an impact.

What are you doing today to help ensure a positive, long-lasting, far reaching legacy?

Yours in service and servanthood.



  1. Great story about your grandfather!!!

  2. Hey Roberto,

    Thank you for the kind comment. It I am lucky enough to be remembered as he was, then I know I will have done something right.

    Take care and have a great day in Italy!