When I write about legacy, I prefer to emphasize the positive. There are many good people touching the lives of others because they choose to make a difference, and their contributions deserve to be celebrated. But every now and then, I cannot turn away from a different kind of legacy. It is one that casts a shadow of pain and injustice. MORE
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Legacy Line Blog
Posted on September 10, 2014
The future has been silenced for two brave men. Two men who brought the horrors of cruelty and conflict home to millions of Americans through their talents and dedication to journalism. Within two weeks, James Foley and Steven Sotloff were publically murdered by cowardly vermin who call themselves “jihadists” but, who in reality, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 05, 2014
You created memories today. The way you kissed your wife goodbye this morning. The handshake and greeting you gave to someone who works with you. Your curtness when you had no time to talk to the employee who asked your advice. The smile that lit up your face as your child walked out on stage for her piano recital, scared to death, as her eyes searched the audience for you and locked onto yours for support. Each of us creates memories as we journey through our day-to-day lives, and while they may seem innocuous to us, each of those memories create the mosaic of our legacies.
I overheard a conversation this afternoon between two middle-aged men. I didn’t intend to eavesdrop, if that is what you are thinking, but the proximity of seating at a local bar tends to make one’s discussion less than private. The two were clearly close friends who shared a history of companionship and confidences. One of the men had recently experienced a serious medical diagnosis he was coming to terms with. He spoke of his father and a conversation they had when he was a young teenager. His Dad asked if he wanted to work in the family business. I tried not to listen, I truly did, but there was something in the tone of this man’s voice when he talked about this long-ago conversation that drew me in. It reminded me of a similar talk I had experienced with my Dad when I was about the same age. The man’s voice was gruff and throaty, burnt course by years of whiskey and cigarettes, one of which dangled from his lips.
“He asked me if I was ready to work with him,” he told his friend, “After school and weekends.” “The old man worked his ass off, that’s for sure and I didn’t expect him to bring this up. Hell, I was only 15.” His buddy said nothing and I pretended to glance at the clock behind me so I could see their faces for a brief moment. Both wore baseball caps covering hair showing grey at the temples and years of sun and weather had leathered their faces. I turned back to my own drink as they downed their shots, slammed their glasses on the bar and gave a short laugh. There was a brief silence. “I started coughing up blood again,” the man said quietly. Perhaps to himself or perhaps to his friend, I’m not sure. “He said, I’ll pay you like a man as long as you work like a man. I’m fifteen years old! You know, I’ll never forget those words. Those were words of respect…. I never let him down.”
I suddenly felt like an intruder. I paid my tab and left, stealing one last glance at two old friends sharing one of life’s most precious moments, the memory of a legacy passed down when least expected. I walked out and sat in my car looking up at the gathering clouds heralding the rains that were sure to come. My mind wandered back to a vivid conversation with my father when I, too, was on the cusp of manhood. We sat side-by-side on the worn brick steps of my childhood home. My two best friends, brothers with whom I had spent my childhood, lived across the street and were playing basketball in their driveway. They had just left our house where they had joined my parents and me for dinner. My father knew things about their family that I did not, including the cause for the implosion that was soon to come that would rip the family apart. His words that day still ring through my mind and heart. “Remember son, if at the end of your life, you have two true friends, you have had a successful life.”
I realized even at that age, that the words my father had just told me were more than a simple statement; they were the words of legacy.
Decades have passed since that moment when father and son sat together and shared a philosophy that would carry on for a lifetime. The two brothers with whom I grew up remain as close to me now as when we were children, perhaps more so, and my father’s words still cling to my heart. We never know when a legacy moment will be upon us either as a giver or receiver, but remember that while you cannot choose your destiny, you can create your legacy.
Posted on August 29, 2014
“Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking… of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider.
For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do).
This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work.
I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back.
I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions.
He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.”
Reposted with permission from brianlord.org <http://brianlord.org>