One of the thoughts that passes through my mind most frequently is the thought that my forefathers are looking down on me, watching how I am living my life. I often think about the way they lived their lives and find myself comparing my life to theirs. They were great men. None of them were famous. None of them invented anything that changed the way we all live our lives today. They were just good, honorable men who shaped the course of their own lives and indirectly, my life as well.

The thought that has occurred most to me has been the thought that I want to live up to the great lives they led. I think of my grandfather, John Clark. He grew up on a ranch in Utah and was one of the hardest working men I have ever met. I wonder if he would be pleased with the kind of worker that I am. I wonder how I can become a man like him. How can I become a man who is unafraid to stand up for what is right. A man’s man. How can I live up to the legacy that he left behind?

My great-great-grandfather lost his right arm fighting for the confederacy in the Civil War. He stood up for what he believed and made a great sacrifice as a result. How do I live up to a legacy like that? My great grandfather was persecuted by mobs and ultimately died as a result of that persecution. He believed in what God was telling him to do and never denied it. How do I live up to a legacy like that? So many great men and women in my family’s history and I don’t feel capable of living up to a single one of their legacies.

Then a few days later while driving home from work, it hit me. It is NOT my role to live up to any one of their legacies. It is my role to create my own legacy. It is up to me to live the kind of life that my children and grandchildren for generations to come will honor and respect. It will not however be their role to live up to any legacy that I might leave. I realized that I have a choice. I have the choice to create my own life, the way I want to live it. It is my privilege to leave a legacy that will be an example to my children and their posterity. I have so many amazing examples of great men to help me know what I am capable of. They left a legacy that I can honor and use as a guide to my own life.

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

-Billy Graham

It is not my role to try to be them. It is not my role to try to be anyone else! It is my role to be the best version of myself that I can be. There is only one me and I want to be the best me that I can be. I want to be a man of character. I want to be a man of honor. I want to be a man of integrity. I want to be a man of God. What better legacy could I leave my children and their children than that? I will always honor and love my ancestors for their examples. I hope and pray that I might leave a legacy such as the ones they have left me with my own posterity. It is up to each of us to make that decision. We can learn from the legacy of others and use their examples to add to our own.

Live your life to the best of your ability and leave behind something that money could never buy once you leave this earth. Be honorable. Be of a sober mind and of good character. No better gift could you possibly give to those who follow.