Second, a legacy that has the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances will be most likely to endure over time. The analogy of a tightrope walker carrying a balance pole is appropriate here: Stability requires change. In order to remain stable, the acrobat must change his or her weight and body position using the balance pole. In a like manner, the objects of one’s legacy must adapt in order to remain relevant. For example, the Scott Family Trust in the U.K. was established in 1936 and re-formed twice, in order to adapt and to carry on the legacy of the original Scott family. Physical objects that constitute a legacy may drift into irrelevance and neglect if new relationships are not built to support and sustain the object’s relevance after a donor is gone. Continued relevance can be achieved either through physical changes in the object, or through the engagement of new people to celebrate the object.

Legacies Require People

At its heart, a legacy must be more than physical objects or legal structures. It is certainly possible to create objects or structures that will survive the ravages of time. But as I have noted, these objects become barren and devoid of meaning without people behind them to carry them forward. The dream of a legacy will become only a fantasy—not rooted in reality—if the representatives, the emissaries, the legates, are forgotten.         


First « 1 2 3 » Next