When I visit my mom, my favorite time is at night when she’s tucked into bed, and I pull up the rocking chair and read to her. Her favorite book—the one I always read several times from start to finish—is Joan Walsh Anglund’s A LITTLE BOOK OF POEMS AND PRAYERS. Sometimes Mom naps, sometimes she smiles, and sometimes she hums along with her own rhythm to the words and poems. All else falls away.
This is the first example on the first page of Anglund’s book. Originally the page displayed only the title, but this handwritten addition was made later:
What you do ~ What you say ~ How you work ~ How you play ~ Day by Day ~
It all matters ~ When all is done ~ It’s what you leave behind ~ Saying who you were.
Imagine taking a philosophy class and having the professor write this quote by Aristotle on the board: “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act but a habit.” And then, instead of assigning some deep, intellectual essay to expresses the best way for individuals to live, imagine that the assignment was to write a very brief set of instructions, so simple a child could understand them. If a professor gave you this assignment, what would you write? I’ve already shown you my simplistic answer. (Obviously, the assignment was not to write good poetry.)
August is WHAT WILL BE YOUR LEGACY? month. It’s intended to be a time for us to reflect on our past and present actions and vow to make positive changes that will affect the future and be the legacy we leave behind.
The suggestions for making the most of this month are numerous. Everything from thanking those who have made a difference in your life to “Playing The Legacy Game” and having everyone in your group tell how they would like to be remembered and what they can do to make this happen.
What you decide to do—if anything—is up to you. I’m fairly certain that if it weren’t for her dementia, my mother would say that since she and Dad were married in August, everything that came out of that union—including their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, plus the business they built and the differences they made—was their legacy.
If thinking about your legacy—or writing a bad poem about what you want to leave behind—isn’t what you want to do, August has numerous other opportunities. It is also Happiness Happens Month, Boomers Making A Difference Month, and Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. You’ve already missed Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night and National Garage Sale Day (both on August 8th) and S’mores Day (August 10th), but you can go ahead and do those things anyway.
That could be your legacy…breaking the rules and doing things on the unexpected days!
P.S. — https://www.writingclasses.com/contest/movie-of-your-life-contest-2015 The link I gave for the 50-word Gotham contest had an “invisible space” (according to the very nice Gotham editor who responded to my email cry for help.) Here is the correct one, which seems the same, but the space has been removed. I tried it, and it works! Jump right in and enter by the 17th!!!