In order to be the person you want to be, you have to look at the life you’re living now.
Live with purpose and your life will fall into place.
With everything that’s been going on both in my own life and with the entire world, it really makes you think about what’s important in your life. For me, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into being a better father. There are a lot of reasons why, but overall, I just want to be the best I can be for my kids.
“What will your kids say at your funeral?”
That may not have been his exact question, but it’s probably one of the most impactful questions I’ve ever been asked. The reason is probably because I’ve recently had to be in those shoes, so I know what that moment feels like. Last November I lost one of the most important people in my life, my dad. It was (and still is) one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through, but I understand it’s a part of life. I’m very lucky that I had many years of memories with him, and this experience has taught me a lot about life and legacy. You can read my original response to the question on my blog, What Makes a Person Successful?, or you can watch the snippet below.
I wanted to take an opportunity to explore this topic even more and dig into what I really want to get out of my life. When I think about what I hope my kids will say at my funeral, it’s more than just thinking about the things I’m good at or specific memories we shared, it’s about my impact on my kids, my family, and the rest of the world. That’s a pretty big weight on your shoulders, and the thing is, everyone has this responsibility. We all want to be remembered, but I think an even more important way to look at life is to ask yourself, “what kind of impacts am I leaving with others?” I want to be remembered for a lot of things, but there are definitely some things I hope out-shine the others.
I’ve been working a lot on how I am as a father, some of which I’ve talked about in my blogs like Trying to Be a Better Dad: Being Intentional with My Daughter, but these are the parts of my legacy I’m working hard to leave behind. These are the things I hope my children are able to say at my funeral because it’s the ideal person I’m working to be.
1. He Loved Jesus.
Jesus will always come first in my life. I’m a very spiritual person and my relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life. Of course I love my wife and my kids, but it’s through my relationship with Jesus that my love for my family is able to grow and to thrive. Without Him and the sacrifices He made for me, I would not be able to be the person I am or live the life I live. I work every day to show my gratitude for that sacrifice by spending time every morning reading my Bible and being really active with my church. For some people, it’s all an act to make themselves feel better about the person they are or the choices they make, but for me, it’s my purpose. I was put here to serve Jesus and everyday I will do my best to do exactly that in everything I do. In my life, I’m able to do everything through Him and I hope that I pass that onto my kids and family, too.
2. He Was an Extremely Hard Worker.
Whether it’s loving Jesus, loving my family, or serving my community, I believe hard work is the only way to do anything. When I do something, I don’t slack off. If I plan on doing something, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I think having a strong work ethic is what sets you apart from others in life and that if you want to succeed in any area, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work. There are a lot of people in the world that aren’t willing to put in the effort, and I won’t let my kids be those people. I set myself as the example for my kids because I think good people are responsible for creating good people. If I want my kids to be hard-working and successful adults someday, I have to teach them what that looks like, and I hope that’s what they will see when it comes to my legacy.
3. He Loved Us First.
Aside from my relationship with the Lord, my family is incredibly important to me. My wife is my best friend and my life partner, and my kids are everything to me. The good, the bad, and the ugly parts of parenthood are all blessings in my book because I get to know these incredible human beings and I get to be the first person to see them succeed in life. Everything I do, I do for them. I build my life so that I can give them the life I think they deserve and I hope they see that when they are older.
These are the things I hope leave the biggest impact on my children because they are the things that have given me the most fulfilling life. If I can help my kids live fulfilling lives, too, I don’t think there is anything else I could hope for.
Everyone’s life is different and everyone has different values, but it’s the legacy you leave behind that really shows how you impacted the people around you. I think that taking some time to evaluate that impact you want to leave is the first step to navigating your life in order to achieve that goal. Life your life with purpose and leave your legacy by living your life. It’s what has helped me find the areas in my own life I want to grow in and I think it’s a good way for everyone to grow.
Ask yourself, “what will my kids say at my funeral?” and be the person you hope they describe, that way, you live the life you see as the most fulfilling.
I would love to answer any questions you may have.
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