What does the word LEGACY mean to you? Merriam-Webster defines LEGACY as a gift by will of money or personal property or something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor.

What will your legacy be? Is it money or land left for your children or grandchildren? Or is it your children themselves having the ability to positively contribute to society? Whether it is a fortune of money or real estate or your children themselves, how important is it to you that YOU are remembered as part of this legacy?

Since November, when I read the story Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, I’ve been thinking about legacy and fame. Now, you may know that in 1863, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. However, if you are like me, you had NO idea that Sarah McHale is the person who was BEHIND our national holiday of Thanksgiving. During the 1800s, Sarah McHale spent 38 years campaigning by writing letters to FIVE United States presidents! Sarah was the type of person we’d celebrate today as an American Hero. She was a single working mother, author, publisher, magazine editor, teacher, poet (“Mary Had a Little Lamb”!), and social activist. So, it made me wonder…is it more important to leave a legacy where no one may remember you OR is more important to be famous for leaving a legacy?

Let’s jump to someone that is famous for leaving a legacy…Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Dr. King and Sarah McHale have many things in common. Some commonalities are from being people who made significant changes in society by using peaceful means to leaving a legacy along with a national holiday. Dr. King is famous for his work and resulting legacy of making changes in Civil Rights.

Do you think either Sarah McHale or Dr. King, Junior thought about being famous? Or do you think they were more focused on the causes they fought for during their lifetimes? After reading books about these legacy makers, I believe that these Americans didn’t spend a minute thinking about being famous. They were too focused on the good of the group and our country to worry about something like fame.

We know that people are the driving force of change and those changes can be lasting…a legacy. What will your legacy be? Will you be a Sarah McHale or a Dr. King, Junior? Or will you even think about if you’re mentioned in one book, many books, or none at all?

Here’s to leaving legacies! Good luck!

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