When you hear the word “legend” what immediately comes to mind? Most people begin to think of people such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Aretha Franklin, and the list goes on. We tend to think of a celebrity or an extremely famous person. Don’t get me wrong, these are truly great individuals who have left their mark. However, most of the time we tend to overlook every day legends such as ourselves. As a parent, it can often be hard to see yourself as a legend.
One definition of a legend is defined as a collection of stories
about an admirable person. The things your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members take from you long after you are gone will reflect your legacy. When it comes to what memories you will leave behind it is totally up to you.
After having my daughter Madison in 2013, I realized I needed to become more intentional about building the right legacy for my family. When I thought about my family history and my ancestors, I knew that it was important to continue to leave a legacy of excellence. I decided that I would no longer just accept the conditions that were handed to me. I was going to take a stand and become a true L.E.G.E.N.D. As a result, I begin to compile a list of characteristics that legends follow.
L – Lead by example. A true legend realizes that everything they do will influence their children. Starting from birth, children are constantly watching their parents learn how to adjust to their environments. As they get older, they tend to stop being as attentive to their parents. That’s because they become more aware of whether their parents are practicing what they are preaching. To get your children to follow you, it is important that you make the decision to revamp your life first. Legends understand that when you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible. Your children can look at you and say, “Well, if they can do it, I can do it.”
E- Educate your children about the financial world. Legends understand you are not only a traditional parent but a “financial parent”. With very few schools teaching financial education, it is important to start teaching your children at home about the financial world. With many parents not knowing how to get started, I decided to write a book titled: Financial Parenthood: The Keys to Raising a Rich Kid to provide parents with a tool that will ensure they are setting their children up for a great financial future. You can start teaching children as early as two-years-old about money. When children learn how to be successful in their finances, they can avoid several financial pitfalls and reach their financial goals faster.
G- Give your children the tools they need to be successful. Whether it is teaching children leadership skills or survival skills, legends know the importance of being a resource their children can turn to. Don’t just take what the school systems give your children as an education. Get to know your child and have a conversation about the things they want to accomplish in their life. Sit down with them and put together a financial, professional, and personal plan for their future.
E- Engage in building a family legacy. Money is not everything, but in the event, you are no longer here, it can make things smoother for the people you leave behind. Legends take the time to make sure they have a life insurance policy, a will, and/or a trust in place to help their families still function in case they pass away. If you have small children and have a potential caregiver in mind, it is very important to list that on your will. Otherwise, the state will decide in probate court for you. If you have real estate that you want to pass along to your family, it is important to document that as well. When you are proactive about taking care of your family early, your chances of setting everything up the way you want them increases greatly.
N-Never give up. Legends teach their children the importance of pushing through obstacles. It is important that you help them understand that everything that they have gone through or will go through is only to make them stronger and build their character. After watching my aunt pass away from heart disease last month at the age of 54, I begin to understand what it meant to never give up. Although she was going through so much, she was still there for her two daughters until her last breath. She was their biggest cheerleader. She stayed positive throughout her own personal struggles.
D – Define your family name. It is important that your children understand the significance of being a part of your family. Set expectations upfront. Come up with a mission statement for your family and provide a list of core values that represent what your family stands for. Introduce your children to other relatives and help them understand their family history.
When you are conscious about becoming a legend, you are more likely to be remembered by your children and family in the best way possible. It is important as parents we begin to see ourselves as legends in our own households and model the behaviors we want our children to remember the most. No one is going to be perfect, but deciding to become a legend to your family will help you change the way you perceive your life and begin to make a difference.