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Do You Have a Legacy Box?

Do You Have a Legacy Box?

By Richard Weijo

As a child, I remember when relatives would visit during Christmas.  I just loved to see a box full of gifts coming through the front door.  My brother and I were always excited to find out which gifts were ours.

Now I am the one giving the gifts. 

During the last few years I have been considering the gifts we will include in our family legacy.

The word legacy can leave very mixed feeling with many individuals.  On one hand, it can be a frightening concept.  Nobody really wants to contemplate the end of their life.  It is just easier to avoid the idea of legacy entirely – something to put off until late in life.  Unfortunately, many wait too long.

On the other hand, legacy can be an empowering concept, allowing individuals to create the most inspiring gifts for future generations.  So how can we breakdown that negative view of legacy and reawaken a powerfully new vision for this old word?

Let me suggest the idea of a legacy box. 

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all leave a legacy to future generations, our gifts passed on to future generations.  Close your eyes for a moment.  Let’s visualize all the gifts you have assembled so far.  When we peer into this box of gifts to future generations, what do you see?  Is it mostly empty, with just a few file folders labeled “will” or “estate planning” on the bottom of this box?  Perhaps it has some memorabilia thrown into this box.  Unfortunately, because most of your family history & memorabilia remains spread across many old boxes and drawers – it risks being thrown away with other clutter.  Do you want your legacy box to look like this?

Now let’s visualize a very different legacy box – like the gift boxes that I remember from Christmas’s past.

It’s a big, beautiful and colorful box and everyone knows where it is kept and what gifts it includes. In this box, every present is carefully wrapped, with a special note attached to explain the significance of this gift to the recipient.  All these important gifts are centralized into this box.  No important history or memorabilia will ever be thrown away inadvertently.

So, as we are walking through those big gates for the final time, which legacy box do you want to turn and hand to your future generations?

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Richard O. Weijo, PhD, received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to receive his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Richard was also a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and his most recent corporate position was as a Manager of market research and Director of customer channels at Portland General Electric. Currently, he is a consultant and a writer. He adores his young granddaughter Elsie, whose birth inspired his book, Our Dreams For Our Children: Creating Legacies That Inspire Each New Generation To Achieve A Brighter Future.

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