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Building a Multi-Generation Legacy

“Only the rocks live forever, Gray Wolf said.” ― James A. Michener, authorCentennial 

Yes, color me unsophisticated, but I loved reading those Michener novels when I was young. 

They all started with some version of “the earth was churning and the seas were in violent upheaval…” and ended with a modern-day social statement, but in between was an epic of adventure as the land and its inhabitants who lived and loved and fought and grew and died to give way to another generation to do it all over again.

I find the ring of truth in the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes when he or she (but yes, probably Solomon) wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun,” but there are certainly new ways of doing things. Our friend Brian Wesbury often says, “You can’t have the cell phone without first having developed the tractor.”

I am amazed when I think of my grandmother’s lifespan.

She was born in 1906 and lived until she saw transportation evolve from horse and buggy to planes, trains, and automobiles…although she wasn’t getting on any aero-plane; she used to say she would visit Europe when they built a bridge across the Atlantic. Perhaps she equated this to “when pigs fly,” but given the development of technology in our lifetime, I would not rule out pigs driving to Europe on a bridge I can’t yet envision.

multi-generationA few years ago, a couple of my colleagues were sitting in my office bemoaning the state of the culture wars.

They were singing (figuratively, thank the Lord for small favors) the familiar lament, “things sure aren’t like they used to be.” I suggested to them that about 200 or so years ago, three old geezers were sitting out on the Great Plains watching the sun make its way across the sky when one said to the other two, “man, life sure was good before all these darn people with the cows, pigs and noisy wagons showed up!”

multi-generationEverything changes, and at the same time, humanity remains the same.

When you and I visit, I often ask what you want to provide for your grandchildren and their grandchildren. Sometimes I hear, “I don’t think about that; I’m just trying to make sure I have enough acorns stashed away to feed me through my final years.” Fair enough.

Others of us, me included, think about what we want to build for our families. It starts, of course, and pardon the metaphor, with a foundation. In this case, with values. If we are trying to build a multi-generation legacy, we don’t have any hope of doing so without inspiring future generations to take up the common cause. At my house, I am trying to move my descendants beyond gathering food, clothing, shelter, and the accumulation of toys and entertainment to something greater. I have settled on five things it takes to do this: Values, Vision, Education, Inspiration, and Material Resources.

You and I spend a lot of time discussing the acquisition of Material Resources in our lifetimes, but I am always up for discussing the other four items.  

Inspiration often grows from sharing.  

Here at Allen & Company, we remain open for both sowing and reaping. Let’s help one another build a solid foundation so the kids can start on the superstructure.

“There are certain kinds of currency you acquire in life. Most of it is ephemeral. But friendship and faith in the unseen world and the commitment to be true unto thine own self are the human glue that you never give up, not for any reason.”

– James Lee Burke, author

January 2023

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