From time to time we all consider the final step in our human experience, either by purchasing life insurance, writing a will or arranging for a burial plot. No one wants to be a burden on those we leave behind.
But what about taking the next step, and considering how we want to be remembered? Benjamin Franklin did just that by writing his own epitaph, likening his body to an old book with the cover tattered and the pages worn.
Our legacy is more than an epitaph. It’s the culmination of our days, as stored in the hearts and minds of those we knew and loved. So why is it important to think about our legacy, even now?
1. It Helps Us Determine Our Priorities
Considering your legacy reminds you about your impact on others, and forces you to evaluate your actions in that context. It forces us to stop and think on a much larger scale than we might otherwise, when caught up in the day-to-day, and moment-to-moment bustle of work and family life.
2. It Reminds Us to Arrange for Our Loved Ones
Considering your legacy forces you to think about how your family will be taken care of once you pass. Do you have sufficient life insurance, a will, power of attorney and health care proxy? If something happened tomorrow, would your spouse and children be financially secure? These questions can be tempting to ignore, but the answers may well shape how you’re remembered.
3. It Helps Us Think About the Future
It’s easy to focus on what’s best in the short run. But considering how you want to be remembered might affect your life choices. For example, ethically questionable actions might pay off financially today, but damage your reputation later. If you care about how people remember you, thinking with an eye toward the future could impact your decision-making.
4. It Makes Us Want to Be Better
Thinking about your legacy can lead you to treat others with more kindness, empathy and fairness. It feeds the natural desire to act selflessly toward others.
5. It Brings Our Values into Focus
What is your moral code? What will you be known for? Are you living that code and establishing a positive reputation in your field of expertise? Considering your legacy allows you to reflect on what is important to you. If your actions are not consistent with those values, now is the time to either reconsider your values or change how you live.
6. It Lets You Define Your Legacy
If you’re thinking about your legacy, you’re working to ensure that people will remember you the way you want to be remembered. Otherwise, it will be in someone else’s hands. And it will be too late to exert any influence on who that person is, and whether they have your best interests in mind.
Stuhr Funeral Home, a trusted name in funeral service for more than 150 years, helps its clients shape the way they wish to be remembered as they are laid to rest. Stuhr Funeral Home is committed to providing quality arrangements to honor loved ones and family traditions. For more information about funeral services available, visit JHenryStuhr.com or call (843) 723-2524.