28 Oct How Precious is our Legacy
My friend Ashley is dying.
I haven’t seen her in more than six years, and now she’s dying. Tomorrow, I am going to her, and I will hold her hand and tell her that I love her, and at some point–hours or days–her spirit will exit this earth.
Except that it won’t.
Because Ashley will leave a legacy.
Her legacy is love and affection and hospitality. She was my friend, and we birthed babies together and vacationed together and broke bread together.
It’s a word I love because like eternity, legacy has no end. Legacy is about living. And passing on something valuable to the next generation.
Between writing that first paragraph and sitting down to finish this post today, my friend Ashley did die. Just as I was leaving my house this morning, I received a text that her life here was over.
And then later this afternoon, I received another text that our first Forever We girl, Mary Elizabeth, found out today that her cancer has relapsed. This news comes on the heels of a bone marrow transplant that by all indications should have worked perfectly.
It has not been a good day.
But Mary Elizabeth has a legacy, too–a living legacy. Her fight is far from over.
A few months ago I wrote a post about our company titled “For Profit or For Purpose?” At Forever We, our mission is to nurture the opportunity to live together with meaning and purpose. Purpose is a central part of our mission because we love people, and we believe people are created on purpose for a purpose.
When life gets tough, though, how hard it is to believe that truth!
If you haven’t already guessed, Forever We invests in kids. If you want to know how to live well, just watch a group of kids for ten minutes or so. They will astound and amaze you. Their zest for life, willingness to try new things, and infinite capacity for love give them an unfair advantage over their adult counterparts.
Last week, we gathered our ambassadors–nine fantastic fifth-graders–and asked them to help us define our core values. The values they articulated prove just how wise they are. They will shape the culture of Forever We for not only as long as we are a company but for as long as any one child cares for any one of our dolls. I believe these kids have the potential to shape the culture of the world!
It’s a legacy I’m honored to steward. Here’s what they decided:
1. Others first: We believe that we should always treat others with honor and respect. We live our motto: “It’s not about me!”
2. Innovation: We will always strive to become better. We will never be content with the status quo.
3. Thanksgiving: In everything, we will give thanks to God. Yes, in everything, because an attitude of gratitude is contagious.
4. Do hard things: We will not be afraid to do hard things. We will work through the challenges of building our business and our relationships.
5. Generational impact: We will always work to bring together the community which includes parents, teachers, and kids because the world is better when we respect those who have gone before us and when we share our experiences with those who will go after us.
6. Inspiration: We will encourage people through our words, our actions, and our products. We want to be a light in a dark world.
7. Community responsibility & meaningful achievement: We will meet the needs of our people by intentionally investing in projects that make a positive difference. Our lives will be marked by a usefulness born from a spirit of generosity.
I read these seven core values now, and I know they are the backbone of our legacy, no less important than the one left by my friend, Ashley, or the one being bravely lived out now by my friend Mary Elizabeth.
Allow me to leave you with a quote from The Noticer by Andy Andrews:
” And how far into the future could we go, dear lady, to show how many lives you will touch? There are generations yet unborn, whose very lives will be shifted and shaped by the moves you make and actions you take…tonight. And tomorrow. And tomorrow night. And the next day. And the next….Time is precious, and you have much to do.”
Yes, time is precious, and we have much to do. Will you join us?