Each of us, through our contributions as volunteers and benefactors, holds the power to change the course of society for the better. We can leave our mark on this world with the time and resources that we dedicate to others. That is what becomes our legacy.
The concept is not unique to me. Ernest Becker wrote a book titles The Denial of Death, in which he stated that “man fears not so much extinction without significance.” I think we all desire to leave our print on the people, causes, or institutions we care about. To do that, we don’t have to leave a substantial financial legacy to a university, as nice as that would be. It can be as simple as the effect we have on other people while we’re around, what we’ve done to further a cause that we care about, or what we’ve done to make sure an institution we care about not only survives but flourishes and endures.
I have a warm spot in my heart for my high school. I learned a lot of important life skills there and came to understand what’s important and what’s not. I am not sure I realized that at the time, but as I go through life and look back, I consider those fours years to have been highly worthwhile.
For most of us, appreciating the life lessons we learn at school comes much later, as we think back. I do not know that I would change much of anything in my life. I can’t think of many experiences, positive or negative, that have not had an effect on my or somehow benefited me. I’ve had great experiences all my life. It is only as you get a little bit older than you think of those times with gratitude.
I was a younger man when I was involved with the Special Olympics. I was wrapped up in my career. I had young children and a mortgage and was focused on doing my best for my family. Yet, the experience helped me to understand that people who are very different from me can be accepted for no reason other than their humanity.
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