This picture was taken a little over a year ago at my book launch event in Atlanta. The little fella with me is our grandson Logan.
Looking at this picture for the first time I thought, “What do I want my legacy to be?” Specifically, what stories do I want Logan to tell his kids about me? For example, my mother told me about how her father was one of the few people who had a job during the Great Depression. He made sure that everyone in the neighborhood had food. Our kids will tell the story about how remarkable their maternal grandfather “Poppy” was. He was a basketball star in Dayton, OH. He was such a star when invited to swim in the “Whites Only” city pool he told them that he wouldn’t unless all of the other African-Americans could also swim in the pool. Our kids will also remember him for driving all night from Dayton, OH to Atlanta to celebrate their birthdays and then turn around and drive back to be at work the next day.
I don’t know what stories Logan will tell about me, but here are two that I would like for him to tell: “J-Pop (that’s what he calls me) gave many first-generation professionals of all colors their first job so that they could be inspirations for the next generations. And when I could not find a job after I graduated from college with an honors degree in accounting, I worked as a janitor. (i.e., I did what I had to do until I could do what I had trained to do. In other words, I want similar types of stories being told about me as the ones that were told to me.
Summary: In thinking about what you want your legacy to be, think about the stories of others that affected and inspired you the most. They won’t be about how much money they made; they will be about the difference they made in the lives of others, especially during the difficult times.