Planning for Purposeful Paths, part 1: building your legacy on a solid foundation

Legacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot. Every generation has people who are concerned with establishing their legacy. When someone passes others are concerned that the deceased’s legacy live on. Having younger children the legacies that I see being preserved are those of Walt Disney, Jim Henson, and some other famous people who built up their dynasty on entertaining and educating children. People like Babe Ruth, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Frida Kahlo, Jackie Chan and a million others have built legacies that have lasted for decades.

As an adult, legacies are something each one of us hopes to leave making the world (or at least our families) a bit better. Being successful parents and spouses are some of the biggest legacies we all hope to leave, as well as leaving a strong financial legacy. My biggest concern is my ability to accomplish both of these things. Our financial plan (built on the foundation laid at a Financial Peace University conference my wife and attended in February of 2013) has begun the work of setting a firm foundation for changing my family tree—not only financially, but relationally. Dave Ramsey, founder of FPU, will tell you that when it comes to money it’s all about the relationships. Building a foundation in my behaviors (how I relate with money and with people my money affects) makes that foundation firm. Our legacy that we leave behind should be built on more than our finances but it must be firm! One built on a shifting foundation like sand isn’t going to last. So how can we make sure our foundation is firm?

The legacy we leave behind will be good, bad, or mediocre. The memory of it will be filled with selfishness, indifference, or a feeling of generosity. How you’re remembered is up to you. Our legacy that we leave behind should be built on more than our finances but it must be firm! One built on a shifting foundation like sand isn’t going to last. So how can we make sure our foundation is firm?
First we’ve got to acknowledge that our legacy is something that is part of a plan that is bigger than what we can imagine. God has designed the universe and everyone in it. The patterns that are systematically evident in creation reveal an intelligent design plan. When we explore the knowledge of God the creator through his word (The Bible) then we can gain an awareness of this foundation our lives are to be built upon.

Psalm 119: 73 says, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” Ever hear anyone say, “If only life came with instructions?” Guess what? It does! The first step in building a lasting legacy is to place it firmly on a solid foundation one that was laid thousands of years ago by Christ Jesus at the moment he laid down his life to spare yours. When someone who loves you more than life itself gives you a gift it is not to be ignored. Seek out your heavenly father: explore his word and learn about the foundation for your legacy.

Ponder your path to success

My Musical Mishap

When I was in 5th grade I was taking trombone lessons with my middle school music teacher. It was going pretty good until one day when I forgot to attend. She dropped me from that class, and for decades I did not pick up another instrument even though I really wanted to learn to play one.

Setting aside the conversation on teachers and their relationship to student motivation for another day, I told that story to say this: if you’ve got a plan to accomplish something then you can’t let anything stop you. I could have discussed it with her, told my parents about it, gotten another music tutor somehow, or been insistent that she not drop me from class. Instead: one bump in the road and I let it upset my whole cart.

What are you looking to achieve?

“Leave nothing to chance” is a phrase that many of us have heard. Truthfully I don’t believe in chance. There will always be someone making the decisions that affect your life: your boss, your relatives, your friends or spouse—even strangers can make the decisions for you if you choose to do nothing with your life. When you don’t have a plan you end up drifting through life accomplishing nothing that you desire to do and end up with a life you regret.

Who’s running this show?

At no point, however, is your life beyond your control to change. If you’re living a life of regret there are steps you can take to move from regret to satisfaction. The first step is to lock in your focus on the goal you want to reach. What are you striving for? Do you: want to be debt free, save up and invest, learn something new, etc.? Whatever it is you have to identify it, claim it, plan on achieving it! You cannot hope, wish, consider, or dream for it only. You must make a choice: you either plan on getting it, or pine forever and regret it.

Place it on a sure foundation

With your focus straight on the new goal you set you must move on a level path headed straight for it. There can be no detours off the path. If you lose focus you will lose control! Make each step count: you must get closer to achieving your goal with every step you take. So do some research—find out the steps other people have taken to achieve that goal. What’s consistently a “best practice” in that situation? We’re looking for best practices here, not something that will side-track us.

You’ve got to set those plans into concrete! They must be “incontrovertible”—nothing will stop you and change how you are going to change your life for the better, and reach that point where you can help other people make the difference in their own life.

My family has done it—we’re debt free and in a good place financially. We’re getting a better life: one where we can keep our head above water, and soon be able to help others meet their needs as well. Achieving your goals is possible if you follow the above steps: (1) Lock your eyes on your target goal (2) Plan out how you are going to achieve the steps leading up to that goal (3) Don’t get sidetracked!.
The final step is this: bad times are going to come. Something will slow you down. Here’s the surprise: you don’t have to let it. If something has stopped your plan or trying to interrupt your plan—you can be the one to stop it. Part of achieving your goal is protecting it, and making sure it happens.

Proverbs 4: 25 – 27: “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil”.

Focused on Teaching: what’s your plan to educate your students, employees, proteges?

Philosophies for teaching (or any general thing we do) help us to focus our essential beliefs about the subject at hand and streamline our approach to communicating our message to the world. Teachers without a philosophy are ships without a rudder sailing toward no particular harbor. While many educators have gone their entire career this way others adopt the philosophy of their own personal teaching style and their approach to their students’ learning styles.
Most professionals address their beliefs and responsibilities through mission and vision statements, a practice which schools are beginning to adopt as well. Even in our personal lives it’s important to have a mission statement for all the facets of your life:
Sadly, some teachers don’t have strong convictions in respect to their mission statement/philosophy beyond the interview. I’ve even had mine acknowledged in a positive manner during an interview only to have the principal totally reject it and make every attempt to squash my philosophy once I was hired. If you’re going to have a philosophy you have to stick to your guns even when other people might not agree with it. Sticking it with it builds clout, character, and confidence.
My philosophy is largely made up of Piaget, Gardner, and Reigleuth. I like to provide an active learning environment where kids feel confident, well-equipped, and able to functionally learn the same information as their classmates in their own personal fashion. If I don’t keep my personal philosophy in constant circulation during the school year than my classroom has no identity, the students become disillusioned, and a total lack of focus springs up like a weed. It must be the foundation of the classroom that I lead; otherwise the ship drifts and all I raise are students adrift and trying to survive a class instead of participating in a learning experience.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues

Kristen Lamb’s blog is an excellent resource for any aspiring writer, and even the professionals! If you’re not following her, and you are or want to be a writer, start following her today! You won’t regret it.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

To prologue or not to prologue? That is the question. The problem with the prologue is it has kind of gotten a bad rap over the years, especially with agents. They generally hate them. Why? In my opinion, it is because far too many writers don’t use prologues properly and that, in itself, has created its own problem. Because of the steady misuse of prologues, most readers skip them. Thus, the question of whether or not the prologue is even considered the beginning of your novel can become a gray area if the reader just thumbs pages until she sees Chapter One.

So without further ado…

The 7 Deadly Sins of Prologues

Sin #1 If your prologue is really just a vehicle for massive information dump…

In my critique group, one of the first tasks each member must do is they must write detailed backgrounds of all characters. I make…

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