One of those questions was this:
What do you hope students will remember about you?
You get the idea. For my name to be on a school, written in a history book, or remembered in a misty dream is not my desire, but if I affect the world with my morality, my quest for adventure, or my desire to learn from mistakes, then I have done well. That's what I think of when I consider my legacy.
Sadly, when names are connected with legacy, those names are sullied with the sins of their owners. In yesterday's post about Walt Disney, I touched on Mr. Disney's vision. We could talk at length about the empire he created, but inevitably there are some who would say something like, "Walt Disney would roll over in his grave if he saw what his company has become," or "Disney would never have allowed R-rated movies to be produced by his studio," or "If Disney was alive, he wouldn't let them serve alcohol in his parks." Perhaps these statements are right.
The point is, the Disney brand used to stand for quality family-oriented entertainment. At one time, parents could feel safe leaving their children in front of a Disney film. We used to trust that there would be no "bathroom" humor, profanity, or sexual innuendo in a Disney movie, but today, that legacy has been dragged through the mud. Don't get me wrong: I still enjoy a good Disney movie (usually when it is attached to the Pixar logo), but today we have to be more selective in the films we view. I still enjoy visiting Disney parks, but we may have to think twice about certain attractions within those parks. Today, with changes in a company's philosophy, Walt Disney's legacy is less about nurturing families, educating with science, and producing quality storytelling, and it more about wealth, extravagance, worldly pleasures, and materialism. Even though he was not a perfect man, while he was living, his name meant something very different than it does today. The legacy he left has been tampered with.
I put much thought in my answer to the Golden Apple selection committee. Legacy is not how people remember you; it is the values you plant that grow a better future.