Legacy. This word has popped in and out of my life quite frequently for the past 20 years or so. Beginning with my venture into instructing others in safe and efficient work practice in the arboriculture profession. In reality, consideration of one’s personal legacy , occurs at least subconsciously, early on in life. Certainly when my children were born, and I contemplated what being a great father would be. And prior to that, a good husband. And before that, a good son. A good friend. And woven into that fabric of my life, were the intricasies of being good at sports, school, etc. All these things became part of my ever evolving legacy. As with anyone, some I was more successful at than others. Time and maturity can accomplish amazing things. I truly am a work in progress. Perfection is my goal. Unfortunately, some of my shortfalls will have to be remedied on the other side.
Since my diagnosis, the word legacy has come up quite often. For obvious reasons I suppose. I have received messages from many friends and colleauges from around the world including me in their prayers. I have also heard from former students, thanking me for sharing my knowledge of a particular technique or tool with them. I was presented with the Edward Bok Award by the Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, as well as the Commercial Arborist of the Year by the Society of Commercial Arborists. I recently received word that I have been selected as the latest recipient of the Millard F. Blair Award of Distinction by the International Society of Arboriculture. This recognition leaves me speechless. Not only for whom the award is named for, but for the great company of past recipients. I’m not much for heroes, but if I was….
During my the courses I taught, I would share with the participants, bits of wisdom that had been passed along to me. Some by professional aquaintences ,and some by my father and grandfather. In doing so, I was forwarding their legacies. When I Mention my grandfather in this context, I am referring to James Miller, my mothers father. I spent many of my early summers at my grandparents house, and learned a great amount about hard work, self employment, and what good,honest work ethics were. I never knew my dad’s father. His name was Bee Smith. I did learn what he was like through conversations with my dad. He would share stories while we sailed on my dad’s sailboat or fished from the Larson motorboat. My GrandPa Smith owned a tug boat. He delivered the mail and supplies to the island folk and fish houses from Fort Myers to Tampa Bay. I remember visiting an old fish house by boat with my dad, near Boca Grande, and him telling me about working with his father on the tug. I remember feeling my dad’s emotion in the words he shared and also in the expression on his face. this was Bee Smith’s legacy being forwarded. Good or bad.
I’m going to continue on the topic of legacy in another blog as it has become increasingly important as of late. Not in a negative sense by any stretch.
And Bee Aware of Your Legacy