August 21 2017
What is your legacy? It is defined as a gift of property, especially personal property, and as money, by will or by bequest. It is also defined as anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. In a research study, the concept of legacy is described as having four pillars:
- Values and life lessons
- Instructions and wishes to be fulfilled
- Personal possessions of emotional value
- Financial assets and real estate
What the researchers found is that baby boomers and their parents are more concerned about their legacy of family stories then they are about their material possessions and money.
A legacy of family stories is also important to the resiliency of young people, and a study conducted by Drs. Marshall Duke and Robin Fivush involved asking adolescents twenty questions about their family history. They found that children who heard more family stories had higher self-esteem, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, better outcomes in difficult situations, better family functioning, and greater beliefs in their ability to affect their own lives.
It turns out that the practice of assessing your legacy by reviewing your life can also enhance your mental health. Therapists sometimes use a practice called life review therapy to help patients.
(First printed in the July 26 Centre County Gazette)