THE BLOG
08/27/2014 03:30 pm ET Updated Oct 27, 2014

What Is the Best Legacy?

A legacy is something that one can leave behind to the people who come after them to "enrich" their lives and better enable the followers to remember the forbearer and continue to make their lives and society better.

Most people think of a legacy primarily as money or property. Many recipients no doubt prefer that aspect of what they get. But like so many things in life, what people get for nothing, they tend not to attach much value to it.

Another aspect of a legacy can be a deserved reputation for honor, rectitude, and community service, which carries with it something of an expectation that the recipients should continue that reputation -- that is sometimes seen by those folks as a wet blanket, burdensome to carry, particularly if a parallel monetary portion is not large enough to make that easy.

Sadly another kind legacy can be a heavy anchor to carry. To be the follower of a sociopath, who leaves a widespread name of shame, must be a heavy burden to bear. A new community or name may be the only real solution to that problem.

Still another type of legacy is a habit of togetherness and shared interests and hobbies. This carries the fewest costs and burdens except perhaps for people who hate crowds and want to go their own independent way. So it is important to be clear that no one has to follow the crowd. Making use of that should be optional which perhaps increases its value when it is utilized.

When the creator of a legacy contemplates his/her hoped for legacy, presumably the intent would be to combine most of the best elements one could hope to achieve.

Thus, if a successor were to say without prompting, "Boy did my forebear have a great life and to top it off left me the means to have an even better life than otherwise I might have deserved" -- that would likely rock the grave in which the forebear rested.

But there is still one better possibility.

When successors without realizing what they are doing, seize the very things a creator hoped to pass on as their own invention and the way of life they are pursuing, while the creator is alive to see it all happen, that creates unbelievable pleasure and satisfaction for the creator.

That often happens in the summer when flocks of offspring crowd around a loved summer place to share the joys and pleasures of life.

Wouldn't it be nice if that happened more around the calendar!