October 11, 2010
Your Legacy Can Make You Feel Rich
Philosophical Thoughts on Factors That Enhance Quality of Life
Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD
Leaving a legacy of philosophical thoughts on the meaning of life, for one's children, grandchildren and their children is an important remembrance. Examples of important factors in forming one's philosophical thoughts on life will have value, as long as there is a traditional linkage between parents, children and grandchildren, and their goals are, in part, synonymous.
Many years ago, Aristotle wrote about the fact that those who maintained good habits formed in youth could make a difference later in life. It is, thus, a solid philosophical thought that the way we live can influence and determine, in part, the way our children and grandchildren will live, as they often emulate or follow family precepts.
It is important to acknowledge and recognize how significant goals are in life, and how fallacious others are, for even those who attain great riches, as far as wealth, may be deficient in ways of appreciating life and how to gain satisfaction that their monetary wealth has no meaning. The person who achieves personal satisfaction and success with his way of life, may be the true winner for obtaining the highest quality of life. Children often follow the characteristics and traits of their parents and will often emulate them in choosing a similar profession or philosophy.
We learn family values and the meaning of morality and values of the American philosophy as expounded in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the good parts of American history as taught in schools, homes, churches, temples, mosques, and by our family and friends. By trying to emulate these high standards, we can hope to improve not only the quality of life but also our meaning of life.
We all share many of the important factors in life, such as courage, hope, compassion, and many of the frustrations and depressions as well. There are many stories that can be told to give relevant examples to the meaning of these factors. By talking about the way we have lived (our life stories), we can give our examples, as well as through our achievements, disappointments, good times, and bad times, as a beacon and touchstone for our family. (See The Life Tapes and Symbolic Immortality Review and Life Tapes)
In part, it is our obligation to instruct, as well as live by example, and to emulate those who have gone before us and have given us their traditions for the meaning of life, and to express high moral principles. It is hoped that through these examples, as well as their examples, our legacy will make us feel like the richest persons in America and will not only be followed and emulated, but enhanced and improved. Each person has so little time and so much to give that one has to concentrate one's efforts to achieve maximum efficiency. At the same time, allow moments for the need to reflect, enjoy, and appreciate all that we have been given, so that we can appreciate life with all its meaning. We hope our legacy will reflect these thoughts, as it is a touchstone for us and for others.
You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken...Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales that may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas that for the most part are the very opposite of those, which we should wish them to have when they grow up?
We cannot...Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable: and therefore, it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts...Then will our youth dwell in the land of health, amid fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in everything; and beauty, the effluence of fair woods, shall flow into the eye and ear, like a health-giving breeze from a pure region, and insensibility draw the soul from the earliest years into likeness and sympathy with the beauty of reason.
There can be no nobler training than that.
from Plato's Republic
Reprinted by permission