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Building a legacy

February 12, 2018 - Tiffany Larson
History tells us that people with a strong purpose in life tend to be those that find their passions, and work to succeed at them. It’s never too early or late to start building that legacy. Legacy can include the things and memories that you want to survive you.

Who knows what the next year, the next five years, or even the next decade will bring? What I do know is that by truly digging deep to find our passions and purpose in life, and by considering our legacies, we might just make this world a bit better. I have been thinking about my passions and my legacy a lot lately. I have been thinking about what I can unselfishly do to make the Webster City area, the surrounding counties, and the world a better place. I have been thinking about what in my control to help make a difference. What skills or lessons have I learned that I can share for the greater good and that can help create change? Change that may happen today that I can visibly see, and change that may not have a true impact until years down the road. This may come to no surprise, but one passion I have is youth. Truly investing my time and talents both personally and professionally to inspire, empower, and engage youth however and whenever I can; this is the legacy I want to leave behind. Thinking proactively and with purpose. Growing up I had mentors that helped positively impact my life. I want to take those lessons learned, and pass them on to the next generations. I look around and still see parts of my uncle Dick (Kennedy) sprinkled throughout this community. He was a huge part of my life, a positive role model, teacher, mentor, uncle, Godparent, neighbor, and friend. He lived his life with a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA), and encouraged his students, wrestlers, and family to do the same. He talked WITH youth that encountered struggles. He encouraged you to be the best, with the tools you had. At the same time challenging you to be even better. I want to be that same kind of champion and advocate for youth now and in the future.

There’s an old Greek Proverb that my coworker shared with me awhile back. As I have been buzzing around the surrounding areas the last few months, I have heard it repeatedly popping up in my mind. It says: “…a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in…” Perhaps we ALL can do more to start planting a few more trees. By all, I mean the younger and older generations. Planting trees together. Now when I say trees, I am not talking literal trees. However, trees may be your passion. If you want to plant trees, by all means go ahead and plant trees (with permission and proper permits of course). What I truly mean by this is find ways to put service above yourself, ways to get involved in your community, rally for a cause, give back and volunteer, inspire others, learning a new skill or trade and share it with others, take your passion and run with it, but most of all consider ways to leave a legacy that positively impacts youth and their future. Sharing your time and talents for the greater good ultimately helps communities thrive.

Youth are our future mentors and leaders. It is up to US to help them be happy, healthy, safe, and successful. We all are still learning the ways to help enable and empower ALL youth to reach their fullest potential, especially with the ever changing dynamics of today’s society. My vision is where ALL youth are empowered and seen as creative, unique individuals with remarkable gifts to offer this world. Some youth may have not discovered these talents and gifts yet. It is up to US, parents/caregivers, educators, neighbors, coaches, and other approachable adults to make a positive impact. It is up to us to build youth-adult connections, support their ideas, be their cheerleaders, accept them as they are, meet them where they are, and at the same time encourage and challenge them.

Until we plant trees in whose shade we will not sit, youth will suffer. Our communities will not make progress. It is crucial that we have authentic youth-adult conversations, recognize needs, reduce barriers, build rapport to long-lasting healthy relationships, and find ways to help our youth grow into responsible young people whom are able to make healthy informed decisions. Need ideas? Support their education from cradle to career, provide opportunities for them to practice new skills, mentor them, be a open and inviting neighbor, support local causes led by youth or helping youth. Encourage asking for help when it is needed, and breakdown the stigma of it looking “weak” to seek assistance from others.

A great opportunity coming up on February 23, 2018 to help make a positive impact in our community is supporting SHIFT Happens in their Annual Dodgeball Tourney. There will be a middle school, high school, and a family/community combo team bracket available. All money donated will go toward the launching of a new Youth Mentoring Program in the community. The high school students planning the event saw a need, and wanted to help a local group of individuals fill a void. One youth said, “I know that we may not visibly see the program launch by the time we graduate in May, but I know that our efforts supporting this cause will help build mentors that can positively impact future youth years to come.” These youth are using the tools and passions they have been given to do their part to build a legacy and are starting to plant trees. The question is, will you join them?


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