Legacy of Kindness

Leaving a legacy of kindness: a life that impacts others

When you think of people who have passed on, what is it that you remember most about them? In other words, what legacy did they leave behind? For some, it may be a fabulous skill, wonderful knowledge, a certain passion they followed. For others, it may be a personality trait; were they funny, serious, charismatic, gentle. Whoever we are in life, that is what people will remember us for. Having lost dear ones, my Father and three Grandparents, I have often thought about the people they were and the memories I hold of them. My Father and maternal Grandfather particularly got me thinking about the kind of legacy we leave behind. I was younger when I lost them, their loss affecting me in ways that I am better able to cope with today, ways I could better cope with when my paternal Grandparents passed. But the residing memory I have of them all is kindness. Regardless of what they did in life – jobs, hobbies, likes, and dislikes – the thing I remember most about them is their legacy of kindness.

Daddie’s girl

I was a Daddie’s girl, and by extension, a Grandpa’s girl too. I loved helping out with the renovation work my Dad did on our house. He was so patient and willing for me to help. I loved spending time with my Grandpa, his willingness to trail around all the swing parks in the local area, never becoming a chore. Just some of the little memories I hold dear now that I can’t hold them near. But the everlasting memory is of their kindness. Everyone who speaks of them does so in words of kindness because that is who they were. Kind. Gentle. Patient. Loving. They always had time for people, had genuine sincerity in their words and actions, and a willing smile on their faces.

I’m not trying to put them on a pedestal, as I know it’s so easy to do with loved ones who are no longer with us. We remember them in almost saint-like ways and never remember any of their faults. I can’t honestly say I do remember the faults, but what I will say is that we remember most what impacted us the most. That’s why I remember their legacy of kindness. Because that is who they were. Who they still are to me.

It got me thinking. What will my legacy be? Will it be a legacy of kindness? Will it be a life that impacts others?

Loving coats!

Martha served as a teacher’s aide at an elementary school for over thirty years. Every year, she saved money to buy new coats, scarves, and gloves for students in need. After she lost her fight with leukemia, we held a celebration of life service. In lieu of flowers, people donated hundreds of brand-new winter coats to the students she loved and served for decades. Many people shared stories about the countless ways Martha encouraged others with kind words and thoughtful deeds. Her fellow teachers honored her memory with an annual coat drive for three years after her life ended on this side of eternity. Her legacy of kindness still inspires others to generously serve those in need.

Our Daily Bread, Xochitl Dixon, 27 June 2021

Actions speak louder than words?

This wonderful story of a lady named Martha serves to illustrate the powerful impact we can have on the people we surround ourselves with. Martha saw a need and decided she could do something about it. Not only through her kind words towards others, but through the simple act of giving a warm coat to a less fortunate child, did she display her kindness. The old phrase actions speak louder than words comes to mind. A famous phrase for sure, and it definitely rings with truth. Our actions do visibly speak loudly to those around us.

But I think it goes deeper than that.

Actions display follow through. If we say we’ll do something and we don’t, it displays a lack of character within us. Equally, we can say we’ll do something and then follow through. These are important, yet superficial examples of the phrase. It shows integrity, an important trait to have and be known for. With Martha however, she displayed something deeper. She lived her words. The story tells how people shared stories of the countless ways Martha encouraged others with kind words and thoughtful deeds. She spoke her truth, displayed her kindness through her words in all she did and backed it up through a practical and memorable act of kindness. Her legacy was kindness. In her words and deeds. They both spoke loud and clear about who Martha was and people loved and remembered her for it. They cherished and honoured her legacy of kindness.

More than a coat

It’s so much more than the coats. Anyone can donate a coat. I have. I’ve had a clear-out and donated many items to charity that I no longer use, require, need, or like. But with Martha, it was so much more than just a coat. My donations were faceless. I didn’t know the people I would be helping, who would wear my old coat, or whom the money from its sale would help. There was a detachment. Martha knew exactly whom she served. She saw their faces every day, saw their need, and responded. A coat is so much more than just a coat. It’s empowerment, warmth, equality, freedom, opportunity, acceptance…I could go on. The coat, which kept a child warm, allowed them to step out their front door uninhibited and take on their future with confidence, not worrying about the myriad of problems they might face by the simple fact they didn’t have one. Martha saw all that and acted. Her kindness moved her to action.

Of course, all giving, regardless of how we do it, is so important. I will continue to give to charity shops so that people can be helped. But the challenge Martha poses through her life well-lived is the need for something deeper, more meaningful, that allows us to display a deep kindness that I believe we’re all capable of if given the opportunity.

Legacy of kindness. Be Kind. Caroline Flack.
Image by reneebigelow from Pixabay

We can change the world through little acts of random, and not so random, kindness.

What will your legacy be?

What do you want to be remembered for? There are many wonderful things in our lives that we will undoubtedly be remembered for, things that make us unique, special, and brilliant. But I challenge you, as I have been challenged myself, to evaluate your life and see just how much we think about those around us. Leaving a legacy of kindness requires us to think outside of ourselves and not only observe the needs of others, but respond. Respond through uplifting words of kindness that will show our heart and that display empathy. But then also through our actions. Actions that back up and display what we say, that impacts people and makes a difference. We don’t need to be Martha. We need to be us and discover ways that we can serve, ways that we can show kindness, not only to our closest family and friends but also to our neighbour and stranger.

What will our legacy be? A legacy of kindness? I hope so!

P.S This month’s life change course is all about how to master your emotions. Is it possible? I’m here to tell you that it is. This course will walk you through step by step how to master your emotions, where they come from, and how to become master of them. https://www.thebattlesweallface.com/product/master-your-emotions/

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