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On December 24, 2003, I was guilty of being a last minute Christmas shopper. I was in college, on a very strict budget, and could not think of anything to give my two grandmothers that I would be seeing for the holidays. I had to get creative and needed something quick. The resulting gift ended up being the best gift of the year. It was created in a moment of panic. I spent a total of $5. It is now a tradition I call The Legacy Project.
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The Legacy Project is simple. It is a journal. Inside the journal, I wrote a question on each page. I provided instructions to the recipient asking them to take time over the next year to answer the questions with as much or as little detail as they desire. Then, after the year, I ask that the journal is wrapped up as a gift and given back to me.
The Legacy Project is monumental. By the time that I grew up enough to appreciate the stories of my grandparents, they were gone. My daughter only remembers meeting one of my grandmothers but because of The Legacy Project she will have access to her great-grandparents words, advice, and memories. It is so simple, costs so little but has a huge impact in recording family history that can be passed down.
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What comes in The Legacy Project?
The first part of The Legacy Project includes the questions and answers from my grandmothers. This was important to include because it is the legacy they leave for us. They both loved their families and it is reflected in the words that wrote to be passed down.
The second part of The Legacy Project is a journal. This is for you to give to someone else so they can hare their own stories. The Legacy Project is a gift. You can share it and then ask that you get it back the following year.
Why is The Legacy Project important?
Back in 2003, I did not realize how important The Legacy Project would be. Both of my grandmothers were living and they were is fair shape health-wise. I was a recent college graduate and not thinking too much about my future other than working my very first professional job. The journals at that time just made a pretty cool and creative gift.
But, when I received the journals back the next year and started reading through them, my perspective change. I was able to see my grandmothers as “people”. Their stories were relatable and I loved reading them and how their lives were impacted by the choices they made.
Now, both of my grandmothers have passed. It feels strange when we gather for the Holidays that they are not there. But, by having The Legacy Project, I have something to share with my own daughter so she knows more about them, their values, and the impact they made on their families.
Poem for my Grandmother:
This poem was written December 2015 after my grandmother passed away. It was read at her funeral.
“You were born in a time I can’t imagine
No television, no email no Facebook – you never let it consume your life.
You worked hard, harder than I will ever have to, For your family, there was always sacrifice.
You lived through wars, watched your sons go off to fight
You saw more loss and had more heartbreak, but your faith in God kept your hope alive.
I was born in time we felt more pressure, a push to succeed for more money, material items a temptation in our lives.
But you always kept us grounded, reminded us that family is important and stand behind you even when failure feels like it will strike.
You worked hard to teach us values, to know what is wrong and choose what is right,
Those lessons of love are more important than any other gift you left behind.
She was born in a different century, a much more different time.
All she knows is a world filled with more technology – more than is sometimes wise.
Distance made it hard for her to see you but she will continue to know your love.
All the lessons you passed down, I will always share because you passed them to us.
Your legacy will continue, it’s something I hope you did know. Our family is better because of the love you always showed.
Love and family, trust in God, these are lessons she will value as she grows.”
Start your own The Legacy Project today! You can get a copy of the Journal for your use to get you started.