Make Me Proud (Don’t Embarrass Me)

   Sorry that I’ve been gone for a while, but I received a brand new knee a few months ago, and the recovery has been quite a journey.

While I’ve been recuperating, I’ve been thinking about my beloofs about the “legacy” I am creating.  Maybe it has something to do with approaching 70 years of age (weird) or realizing I have adult children who are in their 30’s, or both.

I am also aware of a desire I feel to perhaps help or impart some wisdom or guidance to young parents – something I want to give back. It pains me to see them struggle with the job of raising their children as they absolutely wear themselves out (as we did for the first phase of raising our own children) seeing their children as a representation of their “legacy”. They seem to be working to have “perfect” children” (what an oxymoron), and literally that goal is killing them. As I’ve aged, my concept of my “legacy”, especially in regards to my children has dramatically changed.

So I realized I better know the dictionary definition of the word “legacy” to test my assumptions:

Definition of legacy
  1. 1:  a gift by will especially of money or other personal property :  bequest She left us a legacy of a million dollars.

  2. 2:  something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past: the legacy of the ancient philosophers: The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.

Hmmm…not what I was expecting.

I grew up in an era when my very life represented my parent’s “legacy”. I was an embodiment of my parent’s “beliefs” (beloofs?) and values and I was a living reflection of their value as human beings. I was expected never to bring shame or dishonor to our family’s name. I had to achieve professional recognition, honor, and financial achievement as a testament to their sacrifice and success as parents. It was not an option to bring dishonor or negative attention upon myself as it would reflect my bringing dishonor and negative attention to my parents. It would violate their “image”, their “standing” in the community. So the part of me that was different from them; the part of me that was an individual; that wanted to rebel, went underground and expressed itself in self-destructive ways; addiction, acting out, engaging in risky behavior, self-sabotage.

Probably the greatest lesson (legacy?) my children gave me was to refuse to become the embodiment of my “legacy”. They taught me early and completely that my level of influence with them was negligible and perhaps non-existent.  The more I tried to mold them into the image of my “legacy” the less interested they were in indulging me.

And so I gave up – I surrendered. And that is when the real understanding of my legacy started to come to me, and I hated it. My legacy to my children was to get the hell out of their way; to hand over the keys to their life as early as possible and to complete the process of my own individuation and maturation.

Yes, it was my responsibility to keep them safe, fed, clothed, and sheltered until they were able to do that for themselves. But the only true “legacy” I could leave them about life, was to get back to learning to live my own life from the place of highest consciousness possible; to take care of my self as best as I possibly can every day that I can.  And definitely not to steal their personal accomplishments from them by taking responsibility or credit for them, nor to judge or rescue them when they stumble so they learn to rise back up when life knocks them down.

We like to rescue our children from life’s hurts because they remind us of our own hurts that might still be unhealed. But it is precisely experiencing those hurts and learning how to heal and change that makes us who we are today. Let’s try to stay out of our children’s way by tending to our own life’s challenges and quietly watch them grow into who they are meant to be.

Here are my mantras that reflect the legacy I wish to bequeath to my children and all children everywhere:

I strive to come from a place of my highest good
I strive to come from a place of my highest good
I strive to come from a place of my highest good

I am an instrument of healing in the world
I am an instrument of healing in the world
I am an instrument of healing in the world

I humbly teach peace
I humbly teach peace
I humbly teach peace

I love you!
Aho!