A New Year resolution: Write an ethical will
It all started with a phone call from India that my grandfather had died of a heart attack. By the time I booked my flight to New Delhi and made the 17-hour flight (with two layovers) back home, his body had already been cremated. The last rites had been performed; the funeral service was over; the tributes and farewells by friends and family had already come and gone, and I had no real closure. I chased after the ghost of my beloved grandfather, my heart still full of the things I wanted to say to him, but I came up empty-handed.
That got me thinking about writing an ethical will to leave for my own children. This is a Jewish custom of writing what is called an ethical will or legacy letter to one's family. Parents would write a letter to their children in which they would share their values, blessings, life's lessons, hopes and dreams about the future. They would leave these letters behind because they believed that the wisdom they had acquired was just as much a part of the legacy they wanted to leave their children as were all the material possessions. In a nutshell, the ethical will reflects the voice of your heart; it is a love letter to the family.
Mine would read something like this:
To my Son and Daughter,
Treasure each day you have because it will teach you how wonderful it is to be alive,
It's okay to make mistakes,
Life is a gift.
Always remember . . . to have fun,
To live in the moment,
To count your blessings.
Always know that you're loved,
That you're unique,
That you can't control anyone but yourself.
Be strong in yourself,
And, no matter how bad or good something is, it will change.
Don't be afraid to take a risk,
To follow your heart,
To be kind to others
To step outside your comfort zone,
To try something new
To share your feelings,
To express yourself
To stand up for others,
To say "No"
To say "Yes".
Take good care of yourself,
Your health, your teeth
Your friendships, your marriage or your relationships
and, those who need help.
I dream that you will find what makes you special and use it to achieve
A happy life,
To be fulfilled
and, that you will remember your heritage and pass on a legacy of deep faith.
Finally, I hope your life will be full of. . .
Laughter and happiness,
Love for travel,
Beautiful sunrises and sunsets,
Moments that take your breath away,
and, more flaming hot Cheetos!
Now, go and write yours and share it here:-)