I want to propose 5 considerations when creating your family legacy. As a parent, we want to be asking ourselves, what do I want to see in my children 5 years from now? 10 years? 20 years? I even look so far as to think of grandkids as I consider what my life legacy will look like 100 years down the road and beyond.
My inspiration for putting down in writing the concept of building a family legacy comes from the book “Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon.” It’s a beautiful book that highlights the inspiring story of Antonio Pasin Jr., who opened his own shop in 1917 and began making wooden tricycles, among other things.
Through his legacy, Radio Flyer has been powering play and inspiring imagination in kids of all ages for 100 years. Antonio’s dream was to “bring joy to every boy and every girl.” To make that statement and then live it out by building an entire company dedicated to making it happen is absolutely inspiring. It speaks to creating legacies that really matter.
This makes me ask the question, “What kind of legacy am I building for my own family?” I want to challenge you to ask the questions that make sure you are being intentional about building into the legacy you will leave.
5 Considerations When Creating Your Family Legacy
I have been incredibly blessed. I come from a family that takes legacy seriously. I have had examples in my life that point me to what is really important in life.
You may come from a similar background, or you might be reading this saying, “I don’t have a great example from my parents. I’m not quite sure how to proceed when thinking about creating a legacy.”
Let me encourage the person who is thinking the latter. My mom had to break patterns that were set in a dysfunctional family. She was able to turn it around and build a heritage that was different from what she experienced. You can do this also.
It will be important to establish what things you want to pass down and what patterns need to be stopped. Often this is easier said then done because things weren’t modeled well. Find good mentors that can walk through life with you to help build a foundation that is worth passing along to your children.
These 5 considerations when creating your family legacy will help as you build attitudes and actions that inspire.
1. What is Really Important in Life?
So often in life we can be chasing after the wrong things. Money, popularity, fame and power are common chords that draw us away from the really important things. Those things, in and of themselves, aren’t necessarily evil. However, when they become the end all be all they take an unhealthy place in our lives.
In the book “Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon,” Antonio Pasin, the founder of Radio Flyer, is quoted by saying, “On every occasion I have always tried to show that human progress is as important to me as business profits.” He was a man that did end up with wealth, but he recognized that strengthening people is a priority.
“What IS really important in life?” is a question you need to wrestle with on a personal level. Some things I find as more important in this existence are: faith, family, relationships, purpose, character and serving others.
When we can identify the important things in life, that is where be begin to invest our time and resources. This naturally is passed down to our children, impacting their lives and the lives around them in beneficial ways.
2. What Character Qualities Do I Want to Pass Down to My Children?
As we raise kids, we want to be building into the character traits that will grown them and strengthen our society.
It is said that children that are successful learn “grit.” Grit encompasses a willingness to work hard, practice and persevere. Too often we want to give our kids a soft life. We want to solve their problems for them or make their lives too easy. I don’t believe this is beneficial.
I love this quote found in the Radio Flyer book: “Before I came to America, I thought the streets were paved in gold. When I came here I learned three things: The streets were not paved in gold, the streets weren’t paved at all, and I was expected to pave them.” – Italian Immigrant Circa 1915.
We need to teach our children to work hard.
In my character development series, there are 52 traits I focus on teaching my children. These traits are the legacy I want to leave. Here are some of the characteristics I want to pass on: perseverance, kindness, respect, patience (on a personal level still working on that one daily), love, courage, thankfulness, self-control, helpfulness and forgiveness.
You also want to consider the emotional legacy you are passing down. Am I creating a family environment that is full of love, stability, grace and yet discipline? Kids need to feel safe and secure within your home. There needs to be a healthy balance of boundaries and warmth.
Passing down positive character qualities and emotional health is more important than leaving our children wealth. When these qualities are not taught, money becomes more destructive than helpful.
3. What Traditions Am I Developing Within My Family?
Traditions are extremely important within families. For kids, they provide a sense of belonging, security and build into a sense of identity.
We have a Friday fun day that consists of sugared cereal for breakfast and a pizza and movie night in the evening. Another great family tradition is to have Sunday be a night for a family meeting, breakfast for dinner and then a game night.
Traditions can be as simple as the routines established before bedtime. They can be as involved as memories created camping or headed to a favorite vacation destination.
Holidays provide even more opportunities to create memories and traditions within the family.
Radio Flyer is celebrating 100 years and has a history of being a part of family traditions. I plan to pass our Radio Flyer wagon down to my grandkids. I know some of you still have your own Radio Flyer wagon with all kinds of memories from childhood that accompany it.
Radio Flyer wagons and tricycles have been a part of Fourth of July parades, trips to Disneyland, Halloween excursions, and everyday play for generations. This brand has created a century of smiles, happy memories and has been a part of traditions that can continue to build into the fabric of our lives.
4. Am I Building into My Family History?
Creating a family history that tells your story can also help to build a strong legacy.
Work on Your Family Tree
Many find it helpful to create a historical legacy. To see your lineage and know your history can be both interesting and grounding.
Developing family trees and collecting stories from the past creates a sense of purpose and builds into the unique value of human kind. Kids learn that stories and people matter.
Pass Down Your Story
Life is made up of stories. They are important. We learn and grow by learning about our fellow man. Your story is important. Other people’s stories are important.
Communicating your story orally or through writing also builds into the narrative of life. Each of us is unique and has something to contribute. To understand the history that went into making you you helps build empathy and appreciation.
The power of stories is another reason I love the book “Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon.” This book includes a number of people’s personal pictures and stories of their memories with their Radio Flyer toys. It also celebrates the history and story of a brand that has become a true American icon.
As a visual person, I appreciate the impact of a photo. A photo also tells a story. Part of passing down a legacy includes photo and video documentation of life together.
Pictures have the ability to impact our views of life. I can be having a bad day, but if I look through our family pictures and videos, I smile. They record the happy times. Photos are a reminder of all the good, all the fun and all the love in a family. They also build into legacy.
5. Does Your Legacy Impact Others Outside Your Family?
In a world that can be very self-focused, I believe it is important to spread your legacy to make a larger impact.
Antonio Pasin came through Ellis Island as an immigrant from Italy. From humble beginnings, his story and his business has established a legacy of imagination, freedom, fun and joy.
You don’t need to be Antonio to leave your own mark on this world. Teaching your children the value of others by treating each person you encounter with grace and kindness is a form of legacy.
Caring for our world through recycling, litter pick-up and reduction of resources and waste is another legacy you can pass down to the next generation.
Caring for the orphan, widow, sick, homeless and downtrodden is also a way to make an impact on our world.
Giving generously to the needs of others leaves a mark.
Our kids need to recognize that how we build into caring for others and loving people well is more important than the personal fame or fortune one amasses for oneself.
Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon
When asked to partner with Radio Flyer to get the news out about “Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red Wagon,” I said yes. I have loved what the “Little Red Wagon” has meant for our family. The creative play and memories that have come through this iconic brand are cherished.
When reading through the book, I was inspired to consider the concept of legacy. To see how Antonio came to America with nothing but dreams, hope and optimism and left a family and a business that has had a positive impact on families and children is moving.
This book will take you on a journey. It starts with Antonio’s journey to America and into a small shop where he built his first wagon. You will watch to see how the Radio Flyer wagon thrived through the depression, through wars and through other parts of American history. You will watch the company grow and adapt through changing times.
If you love history and you have memories associated with your own Radio Flyer experience, you will be intrigued by the growth, change and impact Radio Flyer has had over the last 100 years.
Hopefully, reflecting on 100 years of a company’s legacy will help you reflect on the legacy you want to create for your family and for the world in which your family touches.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Radio Flyer. The opinions and text are all mine.