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Leaving a Legacy: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Current Events, Exclude from Top Posts

To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As we mark Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, we cannot help but reflect on her life and the legacy she leaves behind. Her life was characterized by drive, passion, perseverance, and tenacity. As only the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Ginsburg lived a life of service and commitment to the United States of America.

Biography

Born on March 15, 1933, Ginsburg was the second daughter of working-class parents in Brooklyn, New York. Though her parents did not attend college, they encouraged Ginsberg in her studies. She eventually graduated from Cornell University with her bachelor’s degree and Columbia Law School with her law degree.

She married Martin Ginsburg in 1954, and after supporting him through a cancer diagnosis in 1956, Ginsburg completed law school and moved into employment, where she encountered gender discrimination. It was this early experience that led her to champion women’s rights and work to achieve gender equality.

After teaching at Rutgers University Law School and Columbia Law School, she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by President Carter. Then, in 1993, President Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, where she served for 27 years. In 2010, her husband of 56 years, “the only young man I dated who cared that I had a brain,” died of cancer. Despite her grief, she finished out the 2010 term at the Supreme Court.

She continued to serve as a Supreme Court Justice until her death from pancreatic cancer on September 18, 2020.

Major Career Accomplishments

  • First female tenured professor at Columbia Law School
  • Co-founded the first law journal devoted to gender inequality
  • Director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Appointed to U.S. Court of Appeals as a judge
  • Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Presented as a lawyer and/or ruled as a Supreme Court Justice on a number of landmark cases

The Importance of a Legacy

As we look back at Ginsburg’s life, none of us can deny that she leaves a legacy. But a legacy is not only for prominent people. Every single one of us leaves a legacy of some kind. It’s up to us whether that legacy is good, bad, or somewhere in between.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” — Shannon L. Alder

Look at your own life and determine what kind of legacy you want to leave. And then, ask yourself, “Does my life reflect the legacy I want it to?” If it doesn’t, start thinking about big and small things you can change in your life to build the legacy you want.

Reflect on those who left a legacy for you

Every person is affected by the generations that came before, whether they want to be or not. It’s apparent in Ginsburg’s life that her parents, especially her mother, left a lasting legacy. So, think about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, schoolteachers, coaches, neighbors, friends, and even people throughout history or in public service who have had an impact on the way you view yourself and the world. Each of these people left a legacy with you – some good, some bad. Now, think about the legacy you’ve built so far with those around you. Are you happy with it? Or are there some things you’d like to change?

Realize that leaving a legacy is not a choice

Whether you want to or not, you will leave a legacy because the people around you will remember you a certain way, depending on how you handled yourself and treated others. It’s up to you whether you have an accidental legacy or an intentional one. While Ginsburg may or may not have initially set out to create a legacy, she did nonetheless. There’s nothing you can do to prevent people from forming an opinion of you, but you can contribute to whether that opinion – your legacy with that person – teaches them how to live well and love others or not.

 Remember that quality time spent with others is the most important

When you involve yourself in the lives of others, you have an impact on their lives. Just as Ginsburg had a profound impact on her children and countless others, so can you. As the saying goes, when we near the end of our lives, we don’t wish we had worked more, we wish we had lived more. That includes spending time with the most important people. As you seek to leave a legacy:

  • Looks for opportunities to know others and be known by them
  • Model and teach what’s most important
  • Compliment, encourage, and build up our family, children, and grandchildren
  • Share the wisdom that you have gained in your life and pass along the knowledge

With our legacies, we contribute to the future. What we do and say affects the lives of others and has the power to create good or bad. What we do matters. Most of us are not prominent people whose names are known by thousands, but that doesn’t ultimately matter. Instead, it is our responsibility as good men and women to create legacies that will take our families and the next generation to a level we can only imagine.

Let’s be intentional about the impact we have on others and create legacies worth remembering.

To learn more about how to build a legacy, make sure to read Building a Legacy.

10 Freedoms for Using Ceremony During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By COVID-19, Current Events

If someone you love has died during the novel coronavirus pandemic, you have come to grief in an exceptionally challenging moment in history. You may have been separated from your loved one as they were dying. You may have been unable to view or spend time with the body after the death. You may have been prevented from having the full funeral you wanted because of gathering and travel restrictions. And people who care about you may not have been able to be near you to support you in your grief. These and other pandemic-related barriers to the cultural grief rituals we rely on may be making your grief journey especially painful.

I am sorry you have been so deeply affected by this hardship.

As a grief counselor and educator, I know that ceremony helps mourners through the early days and weeks of their grief and can also support their healing in the months and years to come. Funerals are for the living. When funerals are personalized and rich in elements that are meaningful to friends and family, they help mourners set off on a healthy mourning path.

But if you couldn’t have an immediate funeral because of the pandemic, or if the ceremony you were able to have felt incomplete or unsatisfactory, I want you to know that you can still use ceremony to help you and others who are mourning this death. I hope these ten freedoms provide you with affirmation and ideas.

1. You have the freedom to embrace ceremony.

The funeral does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It also helps provide you with the support of caring people. It is a way for you and others who loved the person who died to say, “We mourn this death, and we need each other during this painful time.” If others tell you that funerals are unnecessary or old-fashioned, don’t listen. They simply haven’t been educated about all the reasons why humans have relied on funerals since the beginning of time.

2. You have the freedom to hold an immediate private ceremony.

If you were not able to have a bedside ceremony, funeral, committal, or any form of service shortly after the death, you can choose to have a private ceremony right now. Ask a spiritual leader, officiant, family member, or friend to help you plan a simple online meeting using Zoom, Teams, or another tool. You can also hold a small candle-lighting ceremony at your dining-room table.

3. You have the freedom to plan one or more ceremonies to be held later.

Especially if you couldn’t have the ceremony you wanted at the time of the death, you can still hold one or more memorial ceremonies in the months to come, when gathering and travel restrictions are lifted. Remember that a delayed ceremony is a much healthier choice for your family than no ceremony.

4. Yes, you have the freedom to have more than one ceremony!

Ceremony helps grieving people heal. And multiple ceremonies are especially helpful in supporting families through complicated loss circumstances such as yours. For example, you might have an online ceremony now followed by a full ceremony and gathering later this year and then a smaller graveside or scattering ceremony on the anniversary of the death. You will find that each time you hold a ceremony, your grief softens and integrates into your ongoing life a bit more.

5. You have the freedom to plan a ceremony that will meet the unique needs of your family.

Keep in mind that any ceremonies you plan can and should be customized to honor the unique person who died as well as meet your unique family’s needs and wishes. There are no real rules about what you should or shouldn’t do, and your ceremony can be spiritual, religious, or secular—whatever you wish.

6. You have the freedom to feel all of your feelings about the circumstances of the death as well as any ceremony difficulties you may be having.

Because of the challenging and limiting circumstances in which your loved one died, you may be experiencing heightened anger, anxiety, guilt, regret, helplessness, despair, and other difficult feelings in addition to your normal grief. Remember that your feelings are naturally complicated because the situation is complicated. Talking out your feelings regularly with a trusted listener will help.

7. You have the freedom to make use of memories.

You may feel “stuck” in this pandemic moment, unable to carry out all the actions you would like to in honor of the person who died, but you still have the freedom to lean upon your memories. During this dormant time, gathering photos, video clips, memorabilia, and life stories will help you acknowledge the reality of the death and honor the life that was lived. Sharing memories with others will help everyone as well. Then, when it comes time to have a memorial service in the coming months, photos and memories will already be prepared.

8. You have the freedom to reach out and connect.

The isolation you may be experiencing as a result of the pandemic is not conducive to healing. You need and deserve the support of others during this challenging time. Others mourning the death need support as well. So, even if you can’t gather in person with others right now, you can still reach out for and accept support. Talk openly and honestly with the people in your home and be as empathetic as you can. To communicate with others outside your home, video calls are probably the best substitute for face-to-face conversations. Voice calls come second. After that, emails, texting, and social media work too. And don’t forget the power of the handwritten letter! The point is to stay connected as much as possible AND to be open and honest in those communications about whatever it is you are feeling or struggling with at the moment.

9. You have the freedom to ask others to be involved in any ceremonies you plan.

Funeral and memorial ceremonies can have lots of moving parts and may require a good deal of planning. Many hands make light work. You can ask several people to help with the planning and carrying out of tasks. In fact, ceremonies in which many people take part are often the most meaningful to everyone involved. You do not need to do this alone.

10. You have the freedom to move toward your grief and heal.

When it comes to grieving the death of this precious person, you may feel somewhat in limbo during the pandemic. An immediate ceremony will help you feel a degree of progress. In addition, you can move toward your grief by acknowledging and expressing your feelings (see number 6, above), doing memory work (number 7), and reaching out to others (number 8). Giving attention to your natural and necessary grief in all these ways is essential.

Thank you for entrusting me to teach you about the ten freedoms for using ceremony during the pandemic. Despite the restrictions, I hope you will find ways to use ceremony to befriend your grief and begin to heal. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Godspeed.

About the Author

Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., is an author, educator, and grief counselor. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition and is on the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Wolfelt has written many bestselling books on coping with grief, including Grief One Day at a Time and First Aid for Broken Hearts. Visit www.centerforloss.com to learn more about grief and loss.

This Pandemic of Grief

By COVID-19, Current Events

The coronavirus is not only causing a viral pandemic—it is giving rise to a pandemic of grief. As I write this, in mid-March 2020, we as a global community are suffering so many losses that I hardly know where to begin.

Death and grief go hand-in-hand, of course. Thousands of people have already died of COVID-19 worldwide. Many more are dying right now. These are terrible losses for the loved ones of these precious individuals, and they will need our support and empathy in the months to come.

Yet what strikes me at this moment is that this aggressive new virus is threatening every single person on Earth with myriad losses of every kind. Name something you care about or that gives your life meaning. In all likelihood, this attachment is now negatively affected or threatened in some way by the coronavirus.

Social distancing is forcing us to be apart from friends and family for weeks and possibly months. Personal events have been postponed or called off, so we are unable to gather for life’s most meaningful celebrations and rituals, from baptisms and birthdays to weddings, anniversary parties, and funerals. Public activities and experiences that brought us together have also been cancelled. Workplaces are shuttering or moving to work-from home. Restaurants, museums, and theaters are closing. Sporting events have been shut down. Town squares stand empty.

While thanks to technology we can still stay in constant contact with one another remotely—something that wasn’t possible during past prolonged international crises, such as the 1918 flu pandemic—we are learning the limitations of digital love and care.

What is grief?

As human beings, whenever our attachments are threatened, harmed, or severed, we naturally grieve. Grief is everything we think and feel inside of us when this happens. We experience shock and disbelief. We worry, which is a form of fear. We become sad and possibly lonely. We get angry. We feel guilty or regretful. The sum total of all these and any other thoughts and feelings we are experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is our grief.

Our pandemic grief will change from day to day and week to week. This virus is fast. As it sweeps across continents and we collectively take action to “flatten the curve,” new rules and limitations are popping up every day. Restrictions are mounting and growing increasingly severe. As the noose tightens, our grief will change. And as with the virus itself, it will likely get worse before it gets better.

How to help yourself and others: emotionally, socially, and spiritually

There are a couple of important things to understand about your pandemic grief.

First, it is normal and natural. It is simply a part of your love and attachment.

And second, grief responds to awareness, attention, and expression.

You will feel better if you mourn. Mourning is being aware of your grief, giving it the attention it needs and deserves, and expressing it outside of yourself.

We have all heard a lot about how to take care of ourselves physically with this virus, but I have seen little about emotional, social, and spiritual health. During this time of great grief, mourning is the key to these pillars of self-care.

When we are feeling the emotional pain of our coronavirus grief, we can tune into it and allow it to teach us what we are really worried, sad, angry, etc. about. And then we can express it. We can talk to others about it, in our household, on the phone, or online. We can write about it in a journal. We can listen to music or watch movies that help us access, understand, and share our feelings. Mourning our grief in these ways helps soften it and gives us the emergency emotional release and sustenance we need to survive.

Socially, we can’t congregate in person right now. Did you know that the word “congregate” comes from the Latin roots com, meaning together, and gregare, meaning to gather in a flock? But we can continue to make efforts to reach out to the people we care about. Video calls are probably the best substitute for face-to-face conversations. Voice calls come second. After that, emails, texting, and social media work too. And don’t forget the power of the handwritten letter! The point is to stay connected as much as possible AND to be open and honest in those communications about whatever it is you are feeling or struggling with at the moment. Your candor will encourage others to be honest as well, creating the opportunity for mutual support and kindness.

And when it comes to spiritual health, now is an especially resonant time to work on caring for your soul. One redeeming factor of enforced isolation is that it creates the opportunity for spiritual contemplation and practice. In times of loss, we almost always wonder why things happen as they do. We naturally question the meaning of life in general and the meaning of our own life in particular. We turn our attention to our deepest beliefs and values. We talk to God or wonder about God or get angry at God.

If you’ve been struggling with beliefs, values, meaning, and life goals during the pandemic, you’re experiencing the spiritual aspect of grief. And the best way to care for your spirit right now is to be intentional about giving it time and attention. I recommend spending at least 15 minutes each day on spiritual practices. Whatever helps you get in touch with your divine spark—do that. For some people that might be meditation or prayer. For others it can be reading a spiritual text, speaking affirmations, attending a religious or spiritual service online, doing yoga, writing in a journal, or spending time observing nature or walking outdoors.

Simply being aware of your emotional, social, and spiritual health every day and being deliberate about self-care in those areas will help you and others today as well as in the weeks to come. There is no doubt that this is a challenging moment to be alive, but it is also a moment in which our collective resources have never been greater and more capable. So let’s be open, honest, and kind—to ourselves and to each other.

Suggestions for special circumstances

Loneliness

The longer we are isolated in our homes, the lonelier we are likely to become. Humans are social creatures. We are built for touch and body language and conversation. With the rise of technology and its modern-day substitution for personal contact, we were already suffering from a loneliness epidemic. But the coronavirus social-distancing efforts are making it (and will continue to make it) worse. My best suggestion here is to reach out proactively to others in all the ways that you can right now, as often as you can, for their benefit as well as yours. If you or someone you know is at particular risk for loneliness right now, ask for assistance. Find friends, family members, and neighbors who are willing to create a support team. Most people are happy to help but need suggestions about how.

Isolated seniors

On a related note, many seniors are particularly isolated right now. As you know, older people are at much higher risk for serious illness and death from the coronavirus and are having to self-isolate the most strictly. If you are an isolated senior reading this, the loneliness self-care tips I offered above apply to you. If you would like to help an isolated senior, brainstorm with others about the ways in which you can still provide safe comfort and support. For example, deliveries of food, books, and personal notes might help. Touching base by phone once or twice a day could make a world of difference. Be creative and practical in your efforts, and most of all, offer frequent and consistent contact.

Another special circumstance that applies here concerns seniors being cared for in longterm care facilities that have instituted no-visitors policies during the pandemic. Such policies are absolutely necessary right now, but they are also separating loved ones. And I have already heard of a number of cases in which an elderly resident is actively dying but their family is not allowed to be by their side as they die. This is a great heartbreak indeed, and I can offer no equal substitute for physical proximity at this pivotal moment in a family’s life. But I would encourage families to do whatever they can to convey their love. For example, it’s possible to write a letter to the person who is dying and ask a care attendant to read it aloud to them. Making a video recording of yourself, as if you were talking directly to the dying person, is another idea. Asking that special music be played and special memorabilia or flowers be placed in the room is a third idea.

Far-flung families

Many family members are separated from one another at the moment. Some live far apart but wish they could be closer together at this time of need and grief. But travel may not be possible, and for elderly or at-risk family members, physical proximity  may be inadvisable anyway. Again, I would suggest being in touch as much as possible, as often as possible, in any way you can. If you are feeling concern or love for someone who is far away, call them and tell them so. Send them a text. Write them an email. Send a heartfelt greeting card with a personal letter. Your grief over a possible threat to their well-being, yours, or both is tugging at you, so give it voice. They will feel loved and supported, and you will feel relieved and loved as well.

Cancelled events

In many ways, special events are the moments in which we most profoundly feel the love we share with our closest others as well as the meaning of life itself. We dream of and plan for significant expected events such as graduations, retirements, and family vacations. And when unexpected significant events arise, such as serious injuries, deaths, and funerals, we drop everything to be there. But we are living in a moment in time in which most such events are being cancelled in an effort to protect the health of the greater community and the most vulnerable among us. Naturally we are bereft over the loss of these rare opportunities to gather with loved ones and immerse ourselves in that which is most meaningful in our lives.

Whenever possible, I would advocate for such events being postponed rather than cancelled. If the graduation or retirement date comes and goes, maybe the celebration can still be held later on. If a public funeral can’t take place shortly after the death, maybe a memorial service can be scheduled some weeks or months from now. Untimely gatherings are not ideal, of course, but they are much better than no gathering at all. Virtual events may also be a good idea. Baby showers and christenings broadcast live online might be an option, for example.

But most of all, what I hope you will do when an upcoming event is cancelled is pay attention to your feelings about the cancellation and then communicate those feelings to the people who form the centerpiece of the event. If a wedding is cancelled, for instance, write heartfelt notes to the bride and groom and any other family members you are close to telling them why you were looking forward to the event, what it means to you, and what your hopes and dreams are for them in the months to come. They will find great comfort and meaning in your words.

Serious illness and death

If it hasn’t already for you, the moment will likely come during this pandemic when someone you care about—maybe not someone in your closest circle but a friend or neighbor—becomes seriously ill and perhaps even dies. I am certainly not trying to borrow trouble, but I also understand that, numerically, you and I may both find ourselves in this unfortunate circumstance at some point in the coming year. Such is the nature of COVID-19. And to complicate matters, it may happen at a time when we are still quarantined to our own homes, and public ceremonies are still forbidden.

Virtually all of us are grieving this possibility right now. If you have read this whole article, you know that I am an advocate for being open and honest about our inner grief. If in the coming days your grief includes this worry, please talk about it with other people, on the phone, online, and on social media. And if such a reality comes to pass for you, I hope you will remember that your grief is normal and necessary, and it needs and deserves expression.

Here in the American interior west, it feels strange to be rolling onto the onramp of a viral pandemic. We know the route we are heading down, but we don’t know exactly how bad it’s going to be or how our local communities—or we personally—will be affected along the way. Because of this uncertainty, our grief is in part anticipatory at this point. While we are already grieving very real closures, cancellations, and limitations, we are also, normally and naturally, anticipating the unknown griefs to come. They are also part of our love.

I hope that we will emerge from this viral and grief pandemic a more conscious, cohesive, and caring world community. May it shape and transform us into better versions of ourselves.

About the Author

Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., is a respected author and educator on the topics of companioning others and healing in grief. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition and is on the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Wolfelt has written many bestselling books on coping with grief, including Grief One Day at a Time and First Aid for Broken Hearts. Visit www.centerforloss.com to learn more about grief and loss and to order Dr. Wolfelt’s books.

How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus Pandemic

By COVID-19, Current Events

As the coronavirus spreads across North America and our daily lives are transformed, we all must be aware of the need for good mental-health care. Obviously, it’s a stressful time. Families are confined to their homes. School is canceled. Many businesses are closed. Workers are being laid off en masse, causing financial distress. And then there is the illness itself, COVID-19. Will we or someone we love become critically ill or even die? We are all naturally worried about the “what ifs” and “what nexts.”

The youngest among us are not immune to all of this stress. They sense it in the adults around them, and they see it on social media and other sources of information. Their own day-to-day routines have been completely disrupted.

When it comes to painful, complex realities, it can be difficult to know how much we should share with children. Many people have an instinct to protect kids. But as someone who has worked with and advocated for grieving children for many decades, I’ve learned that what they really need is honesty combined with steadfast care.

Here are a few foundational dos and don’ts.

Follow the child’s lead

Pay attention to what the child seems curious or worried about. For younger children, these concerns may manifest through their play rather than directly. You don’t need to volunteer a lot of information. Instead, invite them to ask questions. And try saying just a little at a time. Children are often satisfied with short answers and small “doses” of information. When they want to know more, they’ll let you know, especially if you are someone who is always straight with them.

Talk openly and honestly to children about what is happening

It’s important to be honest with children about difficult circumstances. In fact, I often say that children can cope with what they know, but they can’t cope with what they don’t know. Be factual. Talk to them about social distancing and that it’s necessary to keep people safe. Explain to them that it’s mostly elderly people who are at risk of getting really sick or dying. If finances are an issue, it’s good to talk to them about that too. If someone in your family has been affected by the virus, keep the child updated. And if your family finances are being stressed, as they are for so many people right now, try not to overburden your children with this challenge. It’s OK to let them know about the need to curtail unnecessary spending, for example, but also keep in mind that financial issues are grown-up issues. We must be careful not to make children over-worry about this or feel responsible.

Use developmentally appropriate language

Use simple, concrete language when you talk to children about the pandemic. It’s OK to use the words “coronavirus” and “pandemic,” because children are hearing those terms, but you will need to explain them in ways that they will understand.

Share your feelings

As I said, we are all naturally worried about and disoriented over the pandemic. Circumstances are changing rapidly from day to day, and the future is unknown. Children who spend time with you will pick up on your anxiety, so it’s essential to tell them what you’re worried about. If you don’t, they are likely to imagine even worse scenarios–or think that they are somehow to blame or at risk. And it’s also important that you practice good self-care to manage any severe anxiety you yourself may be having. If your anxiety levels are too high, theirs will be, too.

Understand magical thinking

Young children are susceptible to what’s called “magical thinking.” They may believe that their thoughts and behaviors can cause bad things to happen. If they didn’t want to talk to Grandma the last time they saw her, for example, and she gets sick, they may secretly believe they caused or contributed to her sickness. So be attuned to any feelings of guilt or shame the children in your care may be hiding, and explain clearly to them that none of this is their fault.

Be patient, kind, and reassuring

Most of all what children need is reassurance that they are being cared for and that their family and others they care about are safe.

Routines help children feel safe, so if their daily routine has been turned upside-down, it’s important to create a new routine. Even if you’re stuck at home, you can still have breakfast together at a certain time and follow a daily schedule. Keeping evening rituals consistent is also essential. And while all of this is going on, try extra hard to be patient and kind. I know it’s extremely challenging to manage children patiently when school and activities are not there to help share the “it takes a village” burden, but keep in mind that your children will likely have strong memories of this strange interlude in their lives, as will you. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be caring, consistent, and honest.

It’s also important to emphasize to children that lots and lots of grown-up doctors, scientists, and government workers across the world are working to solve the problem. It is our responsibility, not children’s. We are working hard on treatments and vaccines as well as ways to help families who need help. We will get through this.

And I hope you will take advantage of any extra time you have during the quarantine to use for cuddles, hugs, and play. Physical closeness and care go a long way in helping children feel safe and loved.

About the Author

Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator, and grief counselor. He serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Among his many bestselling books are Healing A Child’s Grieving Heart and Finding the Words: How to Talk with Children and Teens about Death, Suicide, Homicide, Funerals, and Other End-of-Life Matters. To order Dr. Wolfelt’s books and for more information, visit www.centerforloss.com.

Coronavirus Safety Tips: Taking Precautions When Attending a Funeral

By COVID-19, Current Events

Recently, the United States officially declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a national emergency. National, state, and local officials are hoping to slow the spread of the disease in order to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system and its resources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that the virus seems to spread from person-to-person contact, which means people have to take precautions during events like funerals.  

If you are attending a funeral during this outbreak, here are six precautions you can take to ensure you and your family remain healthy

1. Practice Social Distancing

Although officials are unsure how the virus behaves, they believe it spreads through close contact with someone who is sick. That’s why many people are choosing to practice social distancing, which is defined as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”  

Since a funeral or memorial can involve a lot of people in close contact, you can try to sit further apart from others if there is enough space. Additionally, instead of hugs and handshakes, offer kind words and sympathy notes to those who are grieving.

2. Cover Your Mouth When You Cough

Officials also believe the virus can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Covering your mouth with your arm or a handkerchief can prevent the spread of these droplets. The CDC does not recommend using a face mask if you are not sick. However, if you think you have the virus, wearing a mask can prevent your coughs from infecting others. Face masks may be limited, so if you are healthy, the best thing you can do is avoid coming into contact with someone who might be sick. 

3. Wash Hands Thoroughly and Regularly

Washing your hands is important to prevent the spread of any virus, including COVID-19. Germs can collect on your hands if you touch a surface that someone with the disease has also touched. Thorough and regular handwashing is an easy way to prevent the disease from spreading. When you attend a service, don’t be afraid to ask the funeral home staff where you can wash your hands. This should be done before and after the service to help maintain cleanliness.

4. Avoid Large Gatherings

Avoiding those who may be sick is key to slowing the spread of the disease. The CDC, along with federal, state, and local officials, are urging or mandating restrictions on social gatherings to “flatten the curve.” However, grieving people will still need the support of loved ones during a time of loss. Small gatherings or visits with the immediate family may still be possible in some areas that are least affected. Staggered events can also ensure that not too many people are gathered at the same time in the same place. Be sure to follow federal, state, and local recommendations and mandates to help keep everyone healthy and safe. If you cannot attend a funeral or memorial event, here are a few ways you can show your support for the grieving family.

5. Stay Home if You Are Sick

Staying home if you are sick or suspect you may have been exposed to the virus is paramount to stopping the spread of the disease. If you or a loved one were exposed to the virus, proceed with an abundance of caution. Stay home and make every effort to limit contact with others in your community. At this time, the CDC believes that infection is most likely once symptoms are present; however, they do state that some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. 

6. Follow Directions of Funeral Home Staff

Finally, follow the directions of the funeral home and staff. The funeral home may recommend limiting the size of public gatherings, postponing events, or live streaming events with only immediate family present, depending on how prevalent the outbreak is in your area. Some funeral homes are limiting their number of visitations and funeral services to one per day so they can ensure minimal exposure to others. If these services are held, the funeral home staff will likely take precautions such as holding open doors to limit your contact with surfaces, having one person sign register books, or offering electronic options. The funeral home may also limit the use of printed programs or other items. Alternatively, they may schedule funeral arrangement meetings over the phone or other technology to limit person-to-person contact.  

Remember, the needs of the grieving family for love and support during a time of grief don’t go away. If you can attend a funeral, show up! Even if you can’t offer hugs, your presence is more than enough.

What to Do If You Can’t Attend the Funeral

By COVID-19, Current Events, Helping a Friend in Grief

There are numerous factors that can lead you to miss an important event like a funeral. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is one factor that may be at the forefront of your mind, especially recently. In the wake of this relatively unknown disease, you want to ensure you and your family are taking proper precautions and following specific guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and federal, state, and local recommendations and mandates.  

Funeral homes are doing all they can to minimize exposure to others, such as limiting the size of the services, holding one service per day, and/or properly sanitizing the establishment after each gathering. Funeral attendees can also do their part by practicing social distancing, frequent handwashing, and even avoiding large gatherings. However, depending on your health status, state and local restrictions, and your household’s risk level, you may simply be unable to physically attend a funeral. If you must stay home, here are four ways you can provide comfort and encouragement to the family and friends of the person who has died. 

 1. Ask if the service will be recorded or streamed online. 

As mentioned above, some funeral homes will limit the number of people attending a service so that they comply with the CDC guidelines. If that’s the case, a virtual or digital viewing experience may be your best option. The good news is that some funeral homes can stream the service live on Facebook or other technology. You can call the funeral home to ask if that option will be available for the service, and then ask how you can view the stream from the comfort of your home 

 2. Write a note to encourage the family and friends who have lost a loved one.

Though it seems simple, a heartfelt note can make a huge difference to someone who is grieving. It only takes a few minutes to make someone feel like they are not alone and to show that you care. You can do this through a sympathy card, social media post, email, or text. If you want some tips, here are a few recommendations for writing a meaningful condolence letter 

3. Give a sympathy gift.

There are many ways to show someone that you care apart from handwritten notes or letters. Gifts are always encouraged, especially if they are tailored to the recipient. If you can’t drop off a gift in person, you can send flowers or have a gift delivered to the family. You may also consider making a charitable donation in the name of the person who died. If you’d like more ideas for meaningful sympathy gifts, click here 

4. Check in regularly on those who are grieving. 

You might not be able to be present with your grieving friend in person, but you can always check in with a phone call, text, or note through social media letting them know you are thinking of them. The process of grief will last longer than the virus. Continue to support your friends and family members during this time to show that you care. With every thoughtful note or check-in, no matter how brief, your grieving friend will feel supported and loved throughout their grief journey.  

Understanding the Opioid Crisis and What You Can Do to Help

By Current Events, Grief/Loss

So many families across the United States are affected by the grief, anger, and confusion over the death of a loved one by overdose. Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose. According to the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to die of drug overdose than to die in a car crash.  That’s more than 47,000 people in one year. Additionally, the number of overdoses among women (ages 30-64) has increased by 260 percent in 20 years.  Because of these alarming trends, the life expectancy in America has steadily decreased in recent years. All of these statistics make it clear just how vast the need is to help those who are struggling with addiction to opioids and other drugs.

With such a crisis growing in our nation, what can we do? How do we help the people we love? How do we work to prevent future deaths? Let’s review a few simple tips that will help you understand what opioids are, recognize an addict, and discover how you can make a difference.

Understand what opioids are

Let’s take a moment to understand what qualifies as an opioid. An opioid is a class of drugs that include illegal heroin, synthetic opioids (fentanyl) and prescription pain relievers (OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine, to name a few). Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and its use is on the rise. Opioids depress the body’s central nervous system, slowing down a person’s breathing. If you would like to learn what happens to the body during an overdose, click here. Warning: it may be too difficult for some to read the website’s content, especially those who have lost a loved one to opioid addiction.

Recognize the signs of an addict

As with any illness, there are specific signs and symptoms. The more familiar you are with what to look for, the more likely you are to recognize an addiction before it’s too late.

Common Symptoms:

  1. Neglected responsibilities – a person will stop caring about what used to be important. They will miss events, assignments, work, and will neglect aspects of life.
  2. Associating with unhealthy people – they will begin to spend time with people who are a negative influence and may take drugs themselves.
  3. Isolation – they will hide from the people who love them, often ashamed of their problem. They become depressed, anxious, and paranoid.
  4. Behavioral changes – the person begins to do things that are out of character. They may begin to steal, go to see doctors in hopes of getting a prescription, or have unexplained absences. Also, they may begin to ask for money frequently and be more concerned about getting it.
  5. Poor judgment – the person may have difficulty concentrating and their problem-solving skills may be affected. Additionally, they may seem detached from their surroundings.
  6. Physical symptoms – the person will show changes in appearance (weight loss or changes in hygiene), scabs or puncture marks, poor coordination, nausea, and digestive issues, like vomiting.
  7. Mood changes – the person may exhibit mood swings, depression, paranoia, or have sudden, unprovoked outbursts.

Learn how to help an addict

When considering how to help an addict, it’s first important to realize that you can help, but you cannot fight someone else’s battle. Addiction is a disease of the brain, something that is difficult to overcome but absolutely possible. However, the person struggling with an opioid addiction must want to change and must do the work of transformation themselves.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for helping an addict:

  1. Set boundaries and stand by them.
  2. Encourage the person to seek out help. They may not be able to search for treatment options on their own, so be ready to help. Also, if the process has caused you stress and pain, consider talking to a therapist yourself. You need support through this time, too.
  3. Set a healthy example. This may mean giving up some of your own habits.
  4. Be supportive, but don’t make excuses for them. The addict needs to deal with the consequences of their addiction. Again, this is not a battle you can fight on their behalf.

Practice compassion with those who have lost a loved one to addiction

Any grief is hard. Grieving a person who lost their life to addiction is even more difficult. When we grieve, our emotions are all over the place: anger, anxiety, sadness. But with deaths related to addiction or suicide, there is an added stigma to an already heartbreaking loss.

When you interact with someone who has lost a loved one to overdose, remember that they are struggling with more than the usual grief. They may feel guilty about not doing more to help. They may have a lot of unanswered questions. On top of everything else, they must deal with societal stigma surrounding the death. People are often far too quick to judge and too slow to offer compassion and acceptance. Make sure you aren’t one of those people – offer kindness and compassion instead.

Tell others what you’ve learned

So far, opioid deaths continue to rise. We must do what we can to speak with people, young and old, about the dangers of opioids, in all their forms. Most especially, talk to your children about the dangers of opioid abuse so that they can avoid falling into the trap of addiction.

And if you have lost a loved one to overdose, don’t be afraid to talk about what you’ve experienced. Your story, your loved one’s struggle, can make a difference in the lives of others. We all need to understand the very real impact of opioid addiction and actively work together to find a solution.

Lastly, for everyone who is mourning the death of a loved one to overdose, know that you are not alone. We all mourn. We mourn because we love. Take the time you need to mourn and grieve for the special, unique person you have lost.

Remembering Our Founding Fathers: Benjamin Franklin

By Current Events, Exclude from Top Posts

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

(Photo: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin)

The Fourth of July marks a great and long-remembered day in American history. It was on July 4th in 1776 that the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and became an independent nation. In 1870, Independence Day became a federal holiday, though it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid federal holiday.

Our founding fathers consist of seven influential men. They are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. While each of these men had faults and made mistakes, together they created our nation and continue to be remembered for their patriotism and courage.

In honor of Independence Day, let’s reflect on one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin: his life, his legacy, and the ways we have remembered and memorialized him.

Biography

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. He was one of 17 children born to a man who made soap and candles. He had very little formal education, and at the age of 12, he apprenticed to his brother, who introduced Franklin to the printer’s trade. During his apprenticeship, he read voraciously and taught himself to write. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for the written word.

In 1730, Franklin married Deborah Read, and they eventually had two children together, Francis and Sarah. Still in the printing business, Franklin soon began to print currency for Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and Poor Richard’s Almanack (which he also wrote). With his printing business and his investments, he was one of the wealthiest colonists in North America by the 1740s.

Starting in 1736, he began to involve himself in political office, beginning as a clerk of the Pennsylvania legislature. By 1748, he was wealthy enough that he retired, though he remained a silent partner in his business. He turned his attention to other pursuits, both scientific and political.

(Photo: Site of Franklin Museum in Philadelphia, PA)

In the following years, Franklin played a larger role in politics, even spending 18 years in London representing the Pennsylvania Assembly. In 1762, he returned to Philadelphia with the intention of returning to England. But with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 and subsequent events, he stayed in North America and sought to bridge the growing gulf between Great Britain and the colonies.

In 1775, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress. The following year, in July 1776, he helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and signed it along with many others. In October 1776, he went to France to petition for military aid. His efforts to secure military and diplomatic ties with France were successful in 1778. The French played a key role in the colonies’ winning of the Revolutionary War.

He lived in France until 1785 when he returned to the United States of America. He died in April 1790.

Franklin’s Legacy

(Photo: Declaration of Independence, which Franklin helped create)

As we look back at Benjamin Franklin’s life, none of us can deny that he left a legacy. Though he lived most of his life caught between worlds, he had a significant impact on the founding of our nation. In his lifetime, he was one of the most famous figures of the Western world. He was a printer, an inventor, a statesman, a diplomat, and a writer. His scientific discoveries included fundamental discoveries about electricity, the invention of bifocals, the odometer, and the glass harmonica. As a public servant, he had a hand in writing the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and his diplomatic efforts in France played a key role in winning the war.

At the time of his death, he was in disfavor with his friends and family in the United States. This was mainly due to his having lived so much outside of the United States. But nonetheless, an estimated 20,000 mourners gathered for his funeral in Philadelphia.

In June 1790, the Frenchman Count Mirabeau suggested to the French National Assembly that they, too, should wear mourning to honor Franklin. He said:

Would it not become us, gentlemen, to join in this religious act, to bear a part in this homage, rendered, in the face of the world, both to the rights of man and to the philosopher who has most contributed to extend their sway over the whole earth? Europe, enlightened and free, owes at least a token of remembrance and regret to one of the greatest men who have ever been engaged in the service of philosophy and liberty. I propose that it be decreed that the National Assembly, [over] three days, shall wear mourning for Benjamin Franklin.”

Franklin Remembered

Even now, we don’t have to look far to see the many ways that Franklin has been remembered and memorialized. Many schools, counties, towns, universities, and parks have been named for him. Fittingly, as he once printed currency, his face is on the $100 bill. And now, a museum stands where his home and print shop once did, and his written works are remembered and quoted. Ever heard “A friend in need is a friend indeed” or “A penny saved is a penny earned”? Those are Benjamin Franklin’s words, and they continue to live on.

(Photo: Statue of Benjamin Franklin)

It is through permanent memorials, like schools, museums, and statues, that we ensure a lasting tribute for those who have been loved and lost. Memorials also allow us, as people, to honor those we wish to always remember. Just as we create memorials for our heroes, we also create them for our loved ones in the form of grave markers, scholarship funds, or memorial donations.

The Importance of Legacy

As we reflect on Benjamin Franklin’s life, think also of your own life. Are you leaving a legacy that you and your family can be proud of? Have you shared what’s most important with those you care about? If you look at Franklin’s life, his legacy was peppered with both good and bad. It’s up to you whether you have an accidental legacy or an intentional one. Whether your legacy empowers others or brings them low.

(Photo: Statue of Benjamin Franklin outside the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C.)

With our legacies, we contribute to the future. The things we do and say affect the lives of others and have the power to create good or bad. What we do matters. What Benjamin Franklin did matters. Most of us are not prominent people. Our names are unknown to thousands, or even millions, of people. But then, fame and glory aren’t the point of a legacy. Instead, it is our responsibility as good men and women to create legacies that will take our families and the next generation to a level we can only imagine.

Let’s learn from Benjamin Franklin’s successes and mistakes and live lives that positively impact others and create legacies worth remembering.

Remembering Our Founding Fathers: James Madison

By Current Events, Exclude from Top Posts

The happy union of these states is a wonder; their constitution a miracle; their example the hope of liberty throughout the world.” – James Madison

(Photo: Portrait of James Madison)

The Fourth of July marks a great and long-remembered day in American history. It was on July 4th in 1776 that the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and became an independent nation. In 1870, Independence Day became a federal holiday, though it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid federal holiday.

Our founding fathers consist of seven influential men. They are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. While each of these men had faults and made mistakes, together they created our nation and continue to be remembered for their patriotism and courage.

In honor of Independence Day, let’s reflect on one of our founding fathers, James Madison: his life, his legacy, and the ways we have remembered and memorialized him.

Biography

James Madison was born in 1751 in Orange County, Virginia, to a successful planter. He was the oldest of 12. In 1771, Madison graduated from what is now called Princeton University. He returned home to Virginia in 1772, and in 1775, he became a militia colonel.

In 1776, he attended the Virginia Convention, and around that time, he met Thomas Jefferson. The two would enjoy a lifelong friendship. In 1780, he served as one of Virginia’s delegates to the Continental Congress. However, in 1787, he began work on a document that would fundamentally change the fledgling nation – the U.S. Constitution.

When the Constitutional Convention met in May 1787, they intended to amend the United States’ current governmental document, the Articles of Confederation. However, they created a new document – the Constitution – and Madison was the chief recorder of information and played a key role in the Constitution’s creation. At first, the Constitution faced opposition from several states. Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, wrote a series of persuasive letters (the Federalist Papers) in an effort to get the Constitution ratified. It worked.

(Photo: Grounds at Montpelier, Madison’s estate)

Just two years later, in 1789, Madison won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and was an instrumental force behind the Bill of Rights, which was adopted in 1791. In 1795, Madison married Dolley Payne Todd, and tired of the political battles, he retired to his family home, Montpelier.

However, he returned to politics in 1801 to serve as President Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state. After Jefferson’s two terms, Madison became the fourth president of the United States in 1808. It was during his presidency that the United States fought against Britain in the War of 1812.

After leaving office, Madison returned to Montpelier with Dolley. There, he ran the plantation and helped create the University of Virginia (along with Thomas Jefferson). He assumed leadership of the school in 1826. He served as college chancellor until his death on June 28, 1836.

Madison’s Legacy

(Photo: U.S. Constitution)

As we look back at James Madison’s life, none of us can deny that he left a legacy. He is often called the “Father of the Constitution” and was a driving force behind the Bill of Rights. If nothing else, it is due to James Madison that Americans today have the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, and the exercise of religion. He was an intellectual, a patriot, our fourth president, and a man whose ideas shaped a nation and established the rights we enjoy today.

Following his death in June 1836, former president John Quincy Adams (sixth president) was asked to deliver a eulogy in Madison’s honor. He said:

Let us look back then for consolation from the thought of the shortness of human life, as urged upon us by the recent decease of James Madison, one of the pillars and ornaments of his country and of his age. His time on earth was short, yet he died full of years and of glory – less, far less than one hundred years have elapsed since the day of his birth – yet has he fulfilled, nobly fulfilled, his destinies as a man and a Christian. He has improved his own condition by improving that of his country….”

Madison Remembered

Even now, we don’t have to look far to see the many ways that Madison has been remembered and memorialized. Buildings, counties, towns, military vessels, parks, and statues have been named for him. Any time children learn about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the early days of our nation, James Madison will always be mentioned.

(Photo: Capital Building in Madison, WI, which was named after James Madison)

It is through permanent memorials, like schools, museums, and statues, that we ensure a lasting tribute for those who have been loved and lost. Memorials also allow us, as people, to honor those we wish to always remember. Just as we create memorials for our heroes, we also create them for our loved ones in the form of grave markers, scholarship funds, or memorial donations.

The Importance of Legacy

As we reflect on James Madison’s life, think also of your own life. Are you leaving a legacy that you and your family can be proud of? Have you shared what’s most important with those you care about? If you look at Madison’s life, his legacy was peppered with both good and bad. It’s up to you whether you have an accidental legacy or an intentional one. Whether your legacy empowers others or brings them low.

(Photo: Bill of Rights)

With our legacies, we contribute to the future. The things we do and say affect the lives of others and have the power to create good or bad. What we do matters. What James Madison did matters. Most of us are not prominent people. Our names are unknown to thousands, or even millions, of people. But then, fame and glory aren’t the point of a legacy. Instead, it is our responsibility as good men and women to create legacies that will take our families and the next generation to a level we can only imagine.

Let’s learn from James Madison’s successes and mistakes and live lives that positively impact others and create legacies worth remembering.

Remembering Our Founding Fathers: John Jay

By Current Events, Exclude from Top Posts

America belongs to ‘We the People.’”  – John Jay

(Photo: John Jay in his chief justice robes)

The Fourth of July marks a great and long-remembered day in American history. It was on July 4th in 1776 that the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and became an independent nation. In 1870, Independence Day became a federal holiday, though it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid federal holiday.

Our founding fathers consist of seven influential men. They are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. While each of these men had faults and made mistakes, together they created our nation and continue to be remembered for their patriotism and courage.

In honor of Independence Day, let’s reflect on one of our founding fathers, John Jay: his life, his legacy, and the ways we have remembered and memorialized him.

Biography

Born on December 12, 1745, in New York, John Jay was born to a wealthy merchant family. He later graduated from King’s College (Columbia University) in 1764 and began his career as a lawyer. He quickly became known in New York political circles and was elected to represent New York at the first Continental Congress in 1774. During this meeting, representatives discussed colonial resistance to Britain’s oppressive laws.

Also, in 1774, John Jay married Sarah Livingstone. They would have six children together, one of which was William Jay, who would later become one of America’s most important abolitionists and friend to Frederick Douglass.

(Photo: Columbia University, where Jay attended)

At the beginning of the conflict with Great Britain, John Jay desired a peaceful resolution with Great Britain but fully supported the Revolution. He served as president of the Continental Congress in 1778 before traveling to Spain, seeking support for the colonial cause. Though his efforts in Spain did not produce the desired results, in 1782, he went to France and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris, the document that ended the Revolutionary War.

After the treaty was signed, the Articles of Confederation became the first constitution of the United States. However, in 1787, it became apparent that a new constitution was needed. James Madison was a driving force behind the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights we still use today. However, the document wasn’t supported by the states in the beginning. Therefore, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison banded together to write The Federalist Papers, which argued in support of the new Constitution. Soon thereafter, the Constitution was ratified and went into effect.

In 1789, George Washington appointed Jay as the Supreme Court’s first chief justice, a position he held until 1795. He resigned his position as chief justice to serve as governor of New York. In 1801, Jay retired to his family farm, and he died on May 17, 1829.

Jay’s Legacy

(Photo: Gavel in a courtroom)

As we look back at John Jay’s life, none of us can deny that he left a legacy. He drafted New York’s first state constitution, served as a key negotiator at the Treaty of Paris, served as New York’s second governor, and became our very first Supreme Court chief justice. He was a writer, a patriot, and a bastion of support for the U.S. Constitution.

Though he is the most forgotten of the founding fathers, he still had a significant impact. Walter Stahr wrote a book about John Jay, and in it, he says: “Unlike John Adams, who spent a lot of time defending his place in history, Jay does not spend a lot of time on that. He answers letters as they arrive but doesn’t seek out writing engagements. The War of 1812 (between the U.S. and Britain) is very worrisome because he devoted a lot of his time to avoiding that. And he worried about the emerging tensions between North and South. In the end, he’s more worried about America than he is about John Jay.”

Known as a quiet man who never lost his cool or his dignity, Jay, along with the other founding fathers, played a key role in creating the nation we live in today.

Jay Remembered

Even though Jay is not as famous as his counterparts, he is still remembered and memorialized. Many towns and counties in New York are named after him as well as a number of schools. Also, James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans, used Jay’s childhood home as inspiration in one of his written works. When children learn about the founding of our nation, John Jay will always be mentioned.

(Photo: Supreme Court building)

It is through permanent memorials, like schools, museums, and statues, that we ensure a lasting tribute for those who have been loved and lost. Memorials also allow us, as people, to honor those we wish to always remember. Just as we create memorials for our heroes, we also create them for our loved ones in the form of grave markers, scholarship funds, or memorial donations.

The Importance of Legacy

As we reflect on John Jay’s life, think also of your own life. Are you leaving a legacy that you and your family can be proud of? Have you shared what’s most important with those you care about? If you look at Jay’s life, his legacy was peppered with both good and bad. However, it’s up to you whether you have an accidental legacy or an intentional one. Whether your legacy empowers others or brings them low.

(Photo: American flag flying in Washington, D.C.)

With our legacies, we contribute to the future. The things we do and say affect the lives of others and have the power to create good or bad. What we do matters. What John Jay did matters. Most of us are not prominent people. Our names are unknown to thousands, or even millions, of people. But then, fame and glory aren’t the point of a legacy. Instead, it is our responsibility as good men and women to create legacies that will take our families and the next generation to a level we can only imagine.

Let’s learn from John Jay’s successes and mistakes and live lives that positively impact others and create legacies worth remembering.