I remember a few years ago a business coach asked me what I wanted my legacy to be…
“I have 5 of them”, I said.
He was abrupt to correct me…
“Your children are NOT your legacy. And saying that they are diminishes you as a man and puts unneccesary pressure on your kids.”
It came as a shock to me. I felt insulted and almost angry.
After all, I work my ass off everyday to provide for my family to give them a better life.
And like you, I would do anything for my family and make any sacrifice.
But looking deep into myself, there was that desire to create, to contribute and to be part of something bigger than myself.
Something that’s part of our very being as men – as a human…
It’s our sense of purpose.
Our instinctive and primal desire to contribute to the world… THAT is our legacy.
Your children are NOT your legacy. They will grow up to be their own people and live their own unique lives – separate of you.
Sure they may have similar character traits as you or your wife, but if you’re doing your job as a parent, then they’ll find their own path and be their own person… NOT your legacy.
My children – all 5 of them – are NOT my legacy.
By putting that label on them, I am essentially off-setting any responsibility for me to live my best life. I am negating any accomplishments that I’ve achieved thus far.
I’m saying that my life is over because now, I am living for my children.
“Men who have lived significant lives are men who have NOT waited: not for money, security, ease or women. Feel what you want to give most as a gift, to your woman and to the world, and do what you can to give it today. Every moment waited is a moment wasted, and each wasted moment degrades your clarity of purpose.”
Don’t be mistaken, I’m not saying that you should leave your family, move to the South Pacific to surf and do yoga all day.
You have a responsibility to your children and family.
But your role as a father – as a parent – must be clearly defined.
I’ve said this before, but your job as a PARENT is to help raise a functional and contributing citizen of the world – through love and life experience so that you can help them recognize their own potential.
That is your job as a FATHER…a parent.
BUT remember, you are not just a parent – you weren’t before kids and when they leave to live their own lives, you’ll only be a parent by label.
If you want your child to grow up to be the best human being they can, then your job is to live an authentically inspiring life so that they can follow your example of living their own authentic life.
Show them that you train and teach them to build the habit of physical activity.
Show them that you eat well to take care of your body – do the groceries with them, prep with them, cook with them.
Show them strength both in mind and body.
Show them how to love in the way you treat your friends, your family, your wife.
It’s about YOU dominating YOUR life and being the best man you can be, and through that, setting an example for your children to live an authentic and inspiring life themselves.
It’s about YOU leaving YOUR mark on the planet and raising and teaching your kids how to leave THEIR OWN mark so they can create THEIR OWN LEGACY.
Your purpose in life is more than just bringing a child into the world and raising him.
Remember, you are still an individual and your job as an INDIVIDUAL is to be authentic and contribute your unique gift to the world…and we each have our own gift.
So yes, I do have 5 beautiful, smart, witty and unique children.
But they are NOT my legacy.
My legacy is what I am doing with MY LIFE and my job is not to wait for anything or anyone while I contribute my gift to this world.
And that’s your job too.
Don’t wait. Don’t give up. Live a life authentic to you.
Leave YOUR MARK on this world so you inspire them to do the same.
Guide them to grow up to be their own people.
Build your own legacy so you can inspire them to build theirs.