What will your legacy be?

Before I left the News & Record, I joked to a co-worker. “My legacy will be that I laid off people and that I started the Good Stuff.” Layoffs you know about and I don’t want to relive. The Good Stuff is a column I started in early 2009 in which  readers submit stories of extraordinary acts of kindness they have witnessed.

There is truth behind the legacy crack. The Good Stuff is one of the more popular columns we publish. Because I solicited and edited the items, people got to know me and would send me notes saying how much they enjoyed the column.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what readers remember about me. (Here I should make a distinction between readers and staff members. I’m pretty sure my bequest to the staff is different.) While I wish the readers identified me with some of the investigative work the paper produced, some of our special projects or the expansion of our online work, I don’t kid myself that they do. After all, right or wrong, I’m not the face they see on any of that.

It raises a question I wish I had thought about more when I was still at the paper: What will your legacy be? And how are you going about delivering it?

2 thoughts on “What will your legacy be?

  1. I almost sent one to “the Good Stuff” but couldn’t have kept the good guy’s name confidential. I was “Acting Principal for a Day” (via Guilford Education Alliance) at Mendenhall Middle (where I taught for a year and turns out still had one teacher who remembered me). I sat through a math class (average level) and watched a math teacher do the most amazing things teaching kids how to solve word problems. I had my phone, got a Tweet ready, showed it to the principal (the real one) for an OK before sending. It said, “I’m watching a math teacher who should be cloned.” She nodded, I sent. It would have gotten a *lot* more traction in the paper at that time, but he’d have been named, and I wasn’t sure that was OK. And later, you said, “That’s exactly the kind of stuff we want in The Good Stuff.” Moral of story: I thought about the column first. Just wasn’t in a position to write it all out at the time. But it belonged there. He was amazing – teachers don’t get the credit they deserve and he deserved it for a regular normal average math lesson that was superior.

    The column was a GREAT idea. Still is. Now I gotta go contemplate my legacy.

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