Recently, I attended a memorial service for an icon in Denver. Bill Moore, the founder of Kentwood Moore Real Estate Company, transitioned into heaven after suffering from Alzheimer’s. The service at Greenwood Community Church was a celebration of his life and the character of an amazing person. The key takeaway words in the standing room only venue were family, kindness, dignity, love and humor. This is the meaning of a life well-lived. At the end of the service, a legacy video about his life was shown. The message of the video left me with this question.
What creates a legacy? Legacy starts when we enter the world as helpless babies, incapable of taking care of ourselves, or following rules. How is a helpless infant transformed into to self-regulating adult that builds a legacy? Does the government do it? Does society do it? Does money do it? No, it only happens inside of the family. The love of mothers and fathers teach children to have regard for others, to care for themselves, to be self-regulated and follow the rule of law.
This legacy building formula is the only way our American experiment of democracy can survive.
President John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.” What this quote means to me is not that we must be religious, but, rather, we must be self-regulated and accountable to a power bigger than ourselves. We need to be honest, kind and virtuous. These character qualities do not come from the law, but, rather, from our parents relentlessly cultivating them in us. Liberty without responsibility undermines our freedom.
Bill Moore had the gift of parents who inculcated this concept into him as a young boy. This boy became a giant of a man who made friends easily, treated everyone with dignity and respect, followed the rule of law, contributed to the health, well-being and economic development of his community. He loved well and was well loved. He was a giver and not a taker. The stories about his life were inspirational. He worked hard to become successful and helped others to do the same. He valued his family, education, friendship, brotherhood, sports, and the American dream for all.
If we could aspire to build a legacy like Moore, marriages would be stable, parents would be the department of human services, children would be thriving and flourishing, schools would be a place of educational enhancement, neighborhoods would be safe, businesses would be profitable, entrepreneurship and innovation would be on the move and government would stay small living within their budgets, not creating more programming to fix what is broken. America would be prosperous and social justice would be a reality for all.
Let’s follow the example of this great man and learn how to live and love well as family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors. It is not about government programs, it is up to each of us. Let’s keep this great American Experiment alive and well by building a legacy and finishing well.
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