Dear Son: On a Father’s Legacy

Dear Sons,

Your time is limited just like mine. What type of legacy are you leaving your children?

My (relative) old age has turned me into a bit of an introspective father lately. While I’m not dwelling on anything in a particularly negative way, I am looking at things from a new perspective. Truth be told, that’s really the whole point of these “Dear Son” letters – I realizing some lessons learned that I feel need to be passed along.

Today’s thought is one of a father passing along some sort of legacy. Every parent passes a legacy whether they know (or like) it or not. The legacy that we pass along is entirely up to us to decide. If we’re good, productive and positive parents then we may be passing along a positive legacy to our children. If we’re generally negative, grumpy, under-achieving parents then that’s what our children often inherit as well.

That’s really scary to me, not because I’m an underachiever, but because it’s so finite.

When I’m gone, my legacy and the memories you have of me will be all that’s left. When you think back about me, what will your thoughts be? Will they focus on the good times we had like our trip to Washington D.C. together that summer when you were six years old? Or will you remember me scolding you for misbehaving in public? Will you remember the good or the bad when I’m gone? Hopefully there’s more good than bad to remember…

This letter isn’t about ‘stuff’ that I’m passing along, although I do hope that I’m able to pass along something of financial value to you as well.

Rather, this letter is about the values, memories and morals that I pass along to you as well. I think I’m a good person and I strongly believe you’ll end up being a good person as well. A father’s legacy is one that is shaped often before the father even realize it’s being formed. I’m 37 now and I finally realize that my legacy I leave is up to me. I’m thinking about it more now, so maybe I’ll try to do better at what I pass along.

I hope all parents out there realize that they don’t have eternity on this earth. Your time is limited just like mine. What type of legacy are you leaving your children? How will they remember you? That legacy you leave will be all that remains of you. I want my legacy to give my sons strength, compassion, motivation and comfort in the future. How about you?

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  1. says

    From a guy who lost my dad when I was a young kid, legacy is important. While I don’t have much legacy in the respect of being raised by my father, I have the stories and memories of his brothers, sisters and cousins. I’m proud to carry that with me and pass it to my children.

  2. Stan V. says

    Couldnt agree more my friend. I have a 15 yo and one in college myself. Our time on this earth is limited we have to be more aware what we leave behind!

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