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The up-and-down legacy letter

May 5, 2011

As Mother’s Day approaches people have been asking me how they could write a legacy for their children or their mother like the one I wrote last year. Let me explain the Up-and-Down Legacy.

In the hustle we all live each day, juggling work, family, home, errands, wishes, and gotta dos, sometimes the perception of our joy for life gets missed.

Sometimes we think about calling our parents today, but we don’t. We love our children, but we may forget to say it to them every day. Maybe they only remembered our stress. Yet, we adore being parents. It is our greatest joy. Do our children really know how much we love watching them grow through every stage of life (minus a few exhausting moments during the teenage years, of course.). Have you ever truly expressed how thankful you were to the person who helped you blossom in your career or held your hand through a critical time?

Those life lessons are worth sharing.

An Up-and-Down legacy allows us to write something – a thank you letter, for example – to someone who has influenced our life greatly. It is passed up to our parents, older relatives or mentors. As well, it is handed down to the next generation. These are typically known as a legacy letter or legacy will.

A few moments of your time can leave the most valuable gift with future generations. Don’t ever under estimate how that will be valued.

Legacy letters are not difficult to create. Talk about a stage of your life, something you have learned and your hopes for the future. This can be as simple as a three or four page letter or as lengthy as a book. The process of writing your thoughts down, even as a list of words, will open the flood gates of all you value.

If you feel stuck, just write down three to five key points or messages. If you dislike all but one message then just write about the one.

My mother loved the letter I wrote her on my last birthday. I am now working on a surprise for Father’s Day.

There is so much meaning to the expression that it is not the years in our life that matter, but the life in our years. An Up-and-Down Legacy shares the passion and meaning to the values we hold dear.

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