What Legacy Are You Leaving – My Grandfather’s Memorial
January 21, 2008
Do you ever wonder how people will remember you when you’re gone? That question was heavy on my mind this weekend as my family said goodbye to a person that we all loved and looked up to, my grandfather.
A Lasting Legacy
As we listened to the life stories of my dad’s father and heard about all the people’s lives he had touched I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of legacy I will leave on this world. I certainly hope I can accomplish all the things that my grandfather did and become as wonderful a person as he was. I’ll be forever grateful for the things that he taught me, the family he gave us, and the memories he left us with.
My First Shares of Stock
My wife’s engagement ring will always remind me of my grandfather because he was the reason that I, as broke college student, was able to afford it. Ever since I was a little kid, he would excitedly tell stories of speeches given by Sam Walton at the Wal-Mart shareholder meetings. All the enthusiastic talk of splitting stock and doubling shares convinced me to ask for Wal-Mart stock on every gift giving occasion as I grew up. The constant growth and splitting of the stock over the 80’s and 90’s left me with more than enough shares to fund the purchase of a diamond engagement ring when I met the love of my life in college.
An Appreciation of Money
My grandfather’s excitement over stocks stemmed from his appreciation of the value of a dollar and his talent at making a dollar last. That same financial stewardship was passed onto my dad and down to me as well. This important skill is so vital to providing for the health and well being of my family and I have him to thank for it. He was careful with money to the end. In the waning hours of his life when my grandmother asked if she should call 911, my grandfather’s semi-joking response was something along the lines of, “if you’re going to pay for it”. Even in the darkest hour, my grandfather had jokes.
An Appreciation of Laughter
Life can be kind of nasty sometimes but my grandfather always had a joke for every circumstance. He didn’t always get laughs and of course had some repeats but he was always there with a punch line. Life is so short and sometimes we make things so unnecessarily serious, what a gift to be able to bring humor to any occasion. I’ll never be able to remember jokes like he did but one of my new goals is to find ways small ways to bring laughter to places in my life and others when it’s much needed.
A Strong Work Ethic
Of course, life’s not all about jokes. Sometimes you have to knuckle down and go to work. He was good at that too and wanted the people he cared about to share the same drive for success. I remember every time I’d see him after I got my first job he’d ask, “how much longer until you’re CEO”. Of course he was joking but only kind of. You have to set your goals high to succeed and my grandfather wanted us all to aim high so we’d be happy with what we’d accomplished.
Setting & Achieving Goals
He certainly knew how to set goals and reach them. Out of high school he worked in the steel mills to save up enough money to pay his way through college, the first one in his family to ever achieve higher education. Afterwards he went on to excel in dentist’s school and hold his own in the US Navy. After many years of dentistry, he and my grandmother moved across the country to realize a dream of theirs, to become farmers. I have many happy memories as a child at their former farm in the Ozarks, an amazing estate that they were able to call their own thanks to all their hard work & planning. I’m proud to say that same ethic of hard work and goal setting made it through the genes to me and I hope to pass on to my son as well.
Carrying on the Legacy
My grandfather left a lasting impression on many people in his life, I can only hope to leave the same legacy to my friends, family, and the rest of the world that he has. I love him and miss him. I will remember him and do my best to carry on the things that he taught me that served him so well. I’ll start off by holding everyone else to the same goal oriented approach that he expected of me. What legacy are you leaving to this world? How do you want to be remembered and what are you doing about it?
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