Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What Legacy do we leave?

My grandparents purchased a cabin on a lake in northern Michigan many, many years ago. Early 60’s. It has been a part of my entire life; I’ve gone there every summer with maybe 2 or 3 exceptions. We keep a log, in which each visitor is supposed to record their stay. [More than one family “discussion” has arisen over whether such a log is necessary.] Still and all, it is fun to go back and read of previous trips.

This last journey I looked up the summer I turned the same age as my son is now. What was it like to see the cabin in the eyes of an 11-year-old?

1977. I had received a 3-speed bike for my birthday, and brought it up with me. (Do they even still make 3-speed bikes? It was my first bike with handlebar brakes. You remember--the first time you needed to brake and jammed your feet backward only to spin your legs and desperately grab onto the handle brakes.) I had forgotten I even owned that bike.

I read notations of us buying cherries at 25 cents a pound. And peaches at $8 a bushel. How my brother rode to Lake Michigan on his bike to continue to perfect his skill at finding petoskeys. That boy could find a petoskey stone on a gravel road! (On this trip, my daughter with the fun way of viewing the world was desperate to find a petoskey of her own on our trip to Lake Michigan. At one point I asked how she was doing and with a look of intense concentration she said, “I am trying to think like a petoskey.”)

And I read how friends brought up a brand new card game for us to learn called “Uno.” (We resorted back to “Rook” and “Pit.”) I read of people who are now divorced (and re-married) and people who have since died. Names of friends I had forgotten existed, but could now recall the days and evenings of raucous fun we had together.

Which got me to thinking—what am I leaving for my children to read? To remember? What will they look back on and recollect what they had forgotten? I cannot imagine them finding and reading this blog 30 years from now. “Bo—ring!” I can picture the look upon their face.

We write so intently on things we find so important to the here and now. Obama’s nomination. The name of latest Hollywood star’s baby. Intelligent Design. The misnomers of what some Christian leader said. Or how we are fighting with this blogger, or that argument.

30 years from now—are our children going to care? I found myself more fascinated with what we ate for breakfast 31 years ago than what bill President Carter was signing. Yes, these things are important, and history books will record more of Jimmy Carter’s presidency than all my breakfasts combined—but dammit—this was my life. My memories.

Would I even want my children to read my blog? Obviously there are things now which are strictly forbidden. And over their head. Let them find their own way in theistic determination. And since this isn’t about them (really) they would quickly lose interest.

What do you do to pass on memories to your children? I am extremely fortunate (one of a billion things) to have a wife who likes to scrapbook. She is creating many books with pictures, and short blurbs, and most importantly—memories. Things my kids can look at 30 years from now and laugh with their own kids. “You wore THAT?!” “Look at that car! Bwahahaha.”

I know I have been a bit lazy in posting blogs. Somehow the entry about the use of numbers in Acts just doesn’t seem as important, realizing 30 years from now this blog will be in a dusty corner of the internet, unread and a piece of memory piled amongst the millions of other blogs. All of which we feel are so important to write right now and with great vigor and our descendants will shrug while they write their own blogs about their own issues with the same urgency and enthusiasm.

What are you passing on to your children?


  1. I know the memories that are most outstanding to me are from significant experiences I have had with people vs. what someone writes for instance.

    I suspect all the time you spend with your kids, for instance, listening to them, helping them, giving them a sense of value, that these are the memories that will stand out and be treasured by those you have loved.

  2. Dagoods

    I was in the pool with my daughter, today and most of this week. I know the memories that I will leave with my kids is that of our time together. My wife and I take time from our work to be with our kids. Thats our legacy. US with THEM.