History has always held a high level of fascination for me, from the kings and queens of old to the events of September 11th, 2001, though to be honest, I am still a bit mind-boggled that I lived through something that is now being taught in schools in history classes.
I never was one for long-essay questions on any history test in school, but looking back now on certain people with more context than just why they were important to the American Industrial Revolution, I can enjoy learning more about them. Andrew Carnegie is one of those people. He was a self-made millionaire and depending on who you ask, he was a ruthless businessman or a generous philanthropist. The kicker about that question is depending on what time of his life you’re asking about, either answer could be true.
He spent his childhood, teen and young adult years earning money and trying to find the next position or job that could help him make a bit more money than where he was at the time, always looking for opportunities to better his place and position. He was constantly striving for the next promotion, next job, the next merger; yet, after he sold his Carnegie Steel Company in 1901, he was the richest man in America, surpassing John D. Rockefeller for a few years.
I recount a brief history lesson because there’s more to Carnegie than just he made and kept a lot of money; he actually spent a large portion of his later years giving much of his fortune AWAY. (I know, crazy right?) Ever hear of Carnegie Melon University, or Carnegie Libraries, how about Carnegie Hall in New York City? All came about because he used his money to benefit more than just himself. His legacy wasn’t just in building up a steel monopoly and an unfortunate accident that could have possibly been avoided. He used his money for the betterment of others.
Legacies can be tricky things to deal with and wrap our constantly on the “right now” brains to understand. While it would be awesome for me to have enough money to help build even one library or small concert venue, that doesn’t appear to be where God wants me right now, and that is okay with me. I feel like my legacy is in raising up children who are Christ-followers as well as encouraging those around me to see the good in people and share the awesomeness of peanut butter Buckeyes with those I interact with throughout my days and weeks. (taking orders now for the holiday season Beth@bigstarhandmade.com)
When I’m in the trenches of motherhood day in and day out, it is hard for me to see those glimmers of that future legacy I am striving to build up in my children when they’re loudly “discussing” who gets the Pokey Puppy plate for dinner. (honest scenario at least once a week at my house) Usually there are tears from one of them or at least a huff of disappointment, but Mister and I strive to remind them that they can have a turn next time and attempt to deflect any more angst about it to something funny or even downright silly to get them to smile.
Those moments are opportunities for us to show them how to be decent human beings. They are learning compromise, understanding of how others feel, how disappointment feels and how we can overcome it as well as tact, hopefully. Especially if I’m serving something they aren’t exactly keen on for dinner.
Seeing them learn and grow reminds me that my time with them is limited. Munchkin is learning by leaps and bounds all sorts of fun things this year in school, they’re starting to learn how to tell time right now. They’re learning addition and subtraction and just finished learning about Johnny Appleseed. Little Miss isn’t in school yet, but she’s taking ballet and tap lessons at a local dance studio, so she’s learning how to listen to her teacher, how to carefully walk over slick floors with tap shoes on (slow and steady) as well as how to interact with others in the class who may be scared or too shy to try the steps being taught that day.
They’re both learning so much, but I need to remind myself that as their mother I need to help them know that God loves them no matter what, Jesus is God’s Son and died for our sins as well as rose again from the grave 3 days later and defeated death.
Society might say that those last bits aren’t needed and are outdated, but I feel like without these vital pieces of information everything else they learn won’t have as much weight and importance behind them. Their legacies they’d leave would be in a sense, tarnished, because they didn’t allow the love of Christ to shine through all of their actions, their behaviors and thoughts.
You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.Matthew 5:14 HCSB
Now it’s up to me and Mister, while we are able to, to share with them the importance of what Christ means to us, why He should be important to them and that despite what other religions might say about their leaders, ours is the only one who defeated death.
Teach a youth about the way he should go;Proverbs 22:6 HCSB
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ask yourself, journal it, and especially pray about it, what is YOUR legacy? I don’t think it is ever too late to start taking steps for a legacy of love, kindness and obedience to Christ and bringing your children and family along for the journey as well.