Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mulling about legacies

At the end of the year, a lot of us review the past 12 months (think of all those holiday newsletters you get), read lists of "ten best" this of 2008, "best of" that for the year, etc. We get ready to set our goals/resolutions for the next year.

On a more mundane level, if we're on a calendar fiscal year, we also have to deal with work plans, budgets etc for the coming year. All of us as individuals think (at least briefly) about any tax planning we need to do before the end of the year.

All of this is pretty normal, customary; the usual.

But this year, I've been thinking a LOT about an email I got from someone I recently met in Florida. He sent out the copy of an obit whose last line was:

"He leaves behind approximately 6.5 billion people worldwide."

Funny, on first look, and certainly original. But it got me thinking about legacy, what we leave behind us, about how we help those who come after us do better, live better, be better than us.

Nowhere in our society is leaving that legacy more important than in the nonprofit sector. No one has more of the job of building better, fairer, more just communities, of educating, protecting, caring, healing, enthralling more than nonprofits. Its the core of what we do. Its mission.

And while most of us are justifiably concerned with helping here and now, what really happens if we foment effective change is not just improving things now, we improve them for the 6.5 billion others---and their children, and their grandchildren. So, should I change my idea of good stewardship? Should it be not only for today, for this year, this decade, but for beyond my lifetime? I think so, and I'm still sorting that out.

What do you think?


Deb Rosser said...

Peter, you do a great job getting the message of stewardship out across many sectors. We (boomers and beyond) need to realize we have an obligation to impart wisdom and virtues to the younger members of society -- our children, co-workers, volunteers with whom we serve -- by being more intentional with our words and deeds in teaching moments. It is especially important in this age with diminished impact from social institutions of family, church and school. Each of us needs to fulfill our duty to use God-given gifts to make the world a better place. If we work towards instilling these values among those whose lives we touch, perhaps the momentum for positive social change will perpetuate behavior which demonstrates the value of life and the capacity for each individual to make a difference. Thanks for your continuing inspiration.

winner said...

To the owner of this blog, how far youve come?