What is a Legacy? Part Three

Ian King, Monday September 23, 2013

In my recent posts I have considered two aspects of “legacy” namely the financial and moral.  In this post I would like to discuss what I believe to be a further important element to any legacy – experience.

We live in a world which would be almost incomprehensible to those who were alive just one hundred years ago, if not more recently than that.  Our way of life over the last few decades has changed immeasurably.

Way of life

What I do contend however is that we have lost out on some of the “experience legacy” from our forefathers.  I have been fortunate enough to have been brought up as a young man in an era when I have not been called upon to serve my country in the field of battle. This is a duty that has fallen upon many past generations. But, for example, is the experience gained by those previous generations who were fortunate enough to survive doing their duty lost forever from today’s young people?  Maybe it is.

We still clearly as a society remain fascinated by the past and particular that of our family history.  The success of the BBC TV show “Who do you think you are?” and the resultant boom in people researching their family tree is testament to that.

I know from my own father’s research going back several generations, that the results of such endeavours provide a fascinating insight into the life of my predecessors.  But yet so little can be known about who these people were and what life was like for them (i.e. their experiences).

Recording information

The ability to consistently and durably record such information was of course not so freely available, even a few decades ago, but the digital world which we now inhabit affords almost unlimited methods via which such experiences can be recorded for posterity.

Children and young adults often recoil at the thought of spending time with people of a much more senior generation, often fearing tails of “what things were like during their day”.  However, only as those young people grow older themselves will they be able to appreciate the value of such experience.  Those who were able to have such discussions frequently cherish them until they are in a position themselves to pass on their experience to the young members of their family.

Family unit

As family units we frequently do not do enough to spend time together and in particular take enough time to share our experiences.  Furthermore, when we do take such an opportunity they are not recorded such that those who were not able to take part in the discussions (e.g. those who are yet to be born) can share the experiences themselves in years to come.

So, my question is what are you and your family actively doing to share and record your collective experiences?

Please leave your comments below.

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