“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
For the past few weeks and months, I’ve started on a new path that centers around understanding delinquency and human dysfunction in a sense that it tends towards leaving a legacy; and in a flip sense that dysfunction can be avoided no matter the root cause. In my research on the subject, I’ve found many different viewpoints and experiences. The opinion that lunches at me the most is the fact that, you are not your past or origin. You can change and course correct at any point in your life regardless of the fabrics of your origin; and these can happen in very quick and swift changes; all that is required being a drastic decision to change.
As I discussed with a friend, we began to dwell on the issue of theories propounded by philosophers and scientists gone by and concluded that most are inappropriate in recent times; or even were hasty generalizations based on personal opinion. For example, that fact that opposites attract and like mindedness repels. After several meetings and engagements using life scenarios, we concluded that likeminded people tend to forge better relationships because they have similar mindsets, ideals and values and as a result have less friction. It is friction that produces conflict in human affairs and relationships. It was also important to assess the impact of change in relationships to which, several opinions was to the effect that if a cause is worth your while, then adapting to suit the course is a necessity regardless of the cost.
Change therefore is a constant and an on-going process in life; and can happen as swiftly as you desire it. To further buttress this, we began studying foundations of buildings to understand the nature of foundations for different types of buildings as personalities are like buildings and their history like foundations. We discovered that it is really easy to bring an entire building down and recast its foundations to suit a new mindset – paradigm shift.
While we were going through this process, the building right opposite my house in Abuja, was demolished to rubbles from the top to the very foundations and in less than 2 months it has being rebuilt. What made the difference … 5 key elements did, viz:
- Massive Action Plan (MAP)
- Will (The willingness to follow through with the decision), and
- Foresight (weighing the benefits of the new building more than the cost of the change).
Therefore, regardless of your peculiar background and dysfunction, you can make a swift change and not subject your future to the dictates of your past or the will of those people who try to suggest by overt or covert thoughts and actions that you are no better. This is because in the fight for your own feminine dignity, one of the tools to fighting violence against women is your “Personal decision to become better and leave a lasting legacy regardless of where you have been and what you have done”. It is this decision that will ensure you go through whatever it takes to pull down your old self and create a new you … this is your legacy and only foresight will help you see it and take it.
Beyond you lies immortality … Take it!!!
In the year 2000, as I walked from my Hostel in university, Igbinedion Hostel through the long road to the Pavilion, I recall asking myself, “What do I want to be remembered for after I die?” I think I was in my third year as a law student then. What gave rise to these thoughts was that we had several extremely bad roads within the school and poor hostel accommodation and I wondered what happened to the Alumni from the school. I wondered what the government was doing, and I wondered why other countries did better than us.
After pondering on several issues on that singular journey, I set my life’s course there and then. I decided that I would live a life of integrity, honour and dignity, no matter the cost to me or what I stood to lose. I made up my mind that even if I suffered severe loss or pain, a good name was worth more than anything else to me; and I set out to imbibe, create, identify and in some cases (especially as I got older) define the principles and ideals by which I would live life. I became a seeker of sorts and a hermit to a degree and in good time found that there were very few of us on this lonely windy path of honour … above all else.
As I progressed over the years, I existed on my own terms. I was different my entire life. Some have called me rigid, firm, stern, divergent, insane, unpredictable, principled and unconfirmed —an apostate to the rules of the majority. But I decided to solitary principle and dedicated service was an honour to any right thinking man, so I called myself God’s creature and I found definitive purpose in this seeming madness. So, when issues arise and circumstances bellow, or temptations temper, I do not allow other people to dictate how I should feel or act. I learned there was no shame in pursuing perfection because history has shown that being different had the power to change perspectives and eventually the world. This is when I realized that “BEING” and “Being Alive” had responsibility attached to it. The responsibility to live life better than you met it.
We all dream of and want the world to become a better place. Well, most of us certainly do, if not all. But do we work at it? It starts from our thoughts. It starts from our “Being what we want to see” – Better people. So, if we work for it in the right way, we can make a huge difference and bring drastic goodness in the world. This is because the good that we do doesn’t go away; it stays and lingers. Like a trail of dripping oil, it is absorbed, accumulated, and adopted by people who live after we’re gone. Yes, it is a fact that we will die one day, and that’s nothing to fear of or be sad about. But the saddest thing would be to not leave any good behind in the world.
This happens when you leave a legacy behind that is honored, respected, valued, and imbibed by people. This helps them to better their lives and spread the goodness in the world. So, what legacy will you leave behind in the world?
Imagine that the only memory someone has of you is that they were abused by you. Think on it.
Imagine that the only memory you have of yourself with other people is that by self infliction, you allowed yourself be a victim of violation, abuse, perversion and debauchery. Think on it.
What Is A Legacy?
Someone asked me now …
Just the basics will help … it is a gift by will of money or personal property; something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor; something that is passed on to you from your family members or passed on to others from you. It is akin to an inheritance, your gift to the world … your act of gratitude for having gone through this path … and when you leave it behind, it becomes the birthright of your own relationships … Children, Parents, Grandchildren, Network of friends and extended family members, business associates, etc.
The goodness for many, the heritage of your culture, the custom of your society, or the pride of your nation – it is powerful and invaluable, and your best donation to the world – the service of a cause greater than yourself – you – in service of others. Now the least and best we can do in leaving a legacy is to teach our children or fellow human beings how to live a life of values, character, ideals and become good human beings; so that we can all have peace and love in our lives.
You see, you owe the life you live to others who lived before you. Your life mostly depends on what you inherited. People live their lives, work with their heart and soul and leave behind the results after their lives end. The impact of these end results becomes the start point for others and the reason for the results they produce in turn. The chain goes on. The process gets refined. The results get better. The good impact that you leave behind instigate others to do better. The better is developed into the best by others that follow. So, the good legacy that you leave behind helps the world to become better.
A fundamental question: Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Servant, Preacher, Reverend Father, What Legacy are you leaving to those who know you … to those who believe in you … to those who trust you and have entrusted themselves to you?
A Great Family starts with us as individuals!
A Great Government starts with us as individuals!!
A Great Country starts with us individuals, families and government!!!
Talk to you soon.
Dominic E. Obozuwa
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