We baby boomers know a lot! We use it productively, we even brag about it. But what about passing it on to future generations? That’s the subject of a new book by baby boomer Rick Weijo of Portland, Oregon. It’s a wake-up call to boomers to start now to plan how we will share our legacies for the benefit of future generations.
I realized a while back that together with seventy-six million other baby boomers in America, we are one sleeping giant, waiting to be awakened to the power of legacy. So as a call to action, I wrote a book, Our Dreams for Our Children: Creating Legacies that Inspire Each New Generation to Achieve a Brighter Future.
Three events woke me to the power of legacy. The birth of my little granddaughter, Elsie, inspired me to begin thinking about how my wife and I could help her succeed in life. Then learning that I had prostate cancer reminded me of my mortality. Finally, while going through drawers toget rid of items that were no longer of value, I came across some old coinsthat I considered selling — many had belonged to my father, a WWII veteran. These coins are one of the few remnants of my father’s past that I retain.
I realized that the coins had stories to tell— stories that could enrich my granddaughter’s life. And not only did the coins tell stories, but my wife and I also had stories to pass along. We saw that these stories held knowledge and wisdom that would be lost— unless we did something about it. Each of us holds a responsibility to pass on knowledge and wisdom that could enrich the lives of future generations. This is the power of legacy.
There are several different ways of looking at legacy. Legacy is not an afterthought. It is not something that is outdated and irrelevant. Rather, legacy is proactive. It is the foundation for creating a brighter future. It is a thoughtful process of engagement with the past, present, and future. Legacy is specifically defined in the book as a purposeful activity in which a person selects which gifts, such as wealth, knowledge, experiences, or values, they would like to bequeath to certain recipients — family or organizations — for the benefit of generations to come.
Providing diagrams, worksheets, personal anecdotes, and additional resources, in the book I guide readers through a logical process that begins with deciding on the scope oftheir legacy and moves through steps that include looking through the lenses of the past, present, and future, discovering themes, identifying the recipients, selecting which gifts to share, and building an action plan.
Perhaps most importantly, it shows you how to tell your story in a way that it will be remembered by younger generations.
The power of legacy lies in each of our abilities to affect the future by ensuring that the wisdom we have gained by our experiences and through our family’s heritage will serve as meaningful guideposts down the road. Now is the perfect time to think about how each of us can help create a promising future for many generations to come. Don’t wait.