Posted on February 16th, 2014

On Grandparents and Legacy Statements

By Sharon Morton
As Ziknay Nate prepares to work on a grandparents project that speaks about leaving a legacy to our grandchildren, I thought I would share part of the  legacy statement I have written to my children and grandchildren.  The following is just one of the stories from 12 stories that make up my very personal legacy statement– What do I want my grandchildren to know about my past that has formed me- challenged me– informed my life. and what advice do I have for them based on my experiences. (using a few Jewish quotes to support my experiences.)  
I was born to a mother who woke up every morning, every morning to say, “is this not the most beautiful day that God ever made.”  Her sense of spirituality and love were manifest in everything she ever did.
I was born to a father who ended up with dementia. When he could not remember anything at all, we would say “Who was your favorite teacher?” and he would respond, “Florence E. Scully, S-C-U-L-L-Y.”  After being a delinquent and having a father who often hit him, he found a teacher who changed his life when he was ten years old, and he grew to love education, to appreciate teachers and learned to give his life to others.  They both taught me starting at birth.
I wish I could say that I was the same kind of mother.  But sometimes I feel guilty because I did not always treat my 3 beautiful daughters with patience and generousity of spirit. Because of my divorce when my children were so young, I had a need for self-esteem and for recognition that I could not get at home, so perhaps I wasn’t as nurturing a mom than I should have been.  I have discussed this with my adult daughters.  They said I was a fine mother, and they have already forgiven me for mistakes I may have made, and I should forgive myself as well.   There is something to be learned from this story.
Know from where you came, where you are going,” Pirke Avot Chapter 3.
So what do I hope for you, my dear grandchildren.  I hope that if you feel that your parents were like mine, that you have a headstart in being a parent that will love your child every day, in the good times and in the bad.  And, when your life gets difficult and you have needs of your own, then please remember that the children who are entrusted to your care, are the future of the world, and it is your job to help to ensure that future. My father had a father who hit him all the time, but because he had a good teacher, who gave him an award for penmanship, he cherished helping others always.  Look for the good experiences that teach you the best you can be, and let go of the others where you werent nourished.  Forgive those who were not able to answer your needs because they had too many of their own needs. And express your love to your own family at every opportunity.