What really matters?
by Jamie McKenzie (about author)
Photo © J.McKenzie
"The unexamined life is not worth living!'' is a famous dictum apparently uttered by Socrates at his trial. In that spirit, I provide my clients with a list of 37 questions, the answers to which become the basis for their memoirs.
In this article I will share a dozen of the questions most directly related to what might be called "legacy" -- the footprint or signature one leaves behind -- gifts to the world, moments of courage and meaning -- acts that somehow made life better.
© J.McKenzie You can read sample chapters and see the list of chapters by clicking here. Order the print version by clicking below. Order through the mail with a check, click here for the order form.
What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
Songwriters: BURT BACHARACH, HAL DAVID
Photo © J.McKenzie
In creating a memoir, I ask my clients to answer the following questions that are especially pertinent when considering legacy:
Lessons learned/Advice to the young
How do you wish to be remembered?
As Robert Frost stated in his poem "The Road Not Taken" . . .
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
High school is a good time for students to look at the decades stretching out ahead of them and ask how they wish to be remembered when it is all said and done. It is this kind of mindful planning that may lead to wise decisions and a good life, though there are no guarantees, as circumstances and the luck of the draw may frustrate even the best of intentions.
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Who am I in this world?
What kind of person shall I become?
How will I make my mark?
What are my dreams?
There are dozens of interesting resources on the Web to assist students with this thought process that can be found by doing a Google search for "write your own story" or "write your own epitaph" or "be the hero of your own story." Some of them are witty, some of them are cheesy, some of them are pathetic, and some of them are inspiring. It's up to the student to sort through them and find value.
Shall I become the life of the party? the best and loyal friend? the clown? the joker? the professor? the artist?
The rebel? the conformist? the heretic? the patriot? the traitor? the judge?
The good father/mother?
The hippie? the politician? the peacemaker? the bully? the loudmouth? the blowhard? the sage?
Food for thought!
The Great Report
are perceptive and original
You can read sample chapters and see the list of chapters by clicking here.
Order the print version by clicking below.
Order through the mail with a check, click here for the order form.