I am a descendant of John Tanner who, in 1834, owned several farms and orchards, as well as a hotel in upstate New York. Following an impression that he was needed in Kirtland, Ohio, he sold everything and packed up his family Christmas morning to head 500 miles east to Kirtland. He arrived to find the mortgage on the temple site was due. He loaned money to the temple committee and donated liberally to the cause. There is no record of him every being repaid. Years later, in Nauvoo, he was called at the age of 66 to serve a mission. Leaving his wife and 14 children he was on his way out of town when he passed the prophet. Joseph said, "John, what of the money owed you?" John responded, "It's yours. You are welcome to it." The prophet put his hand on John's shoulder and said, "Bless you, Father Tanner. Your posterity will never beg bread."
Many times in my life I have been the recipient of that promised blessing. And inevitably, I reflectively ask myself what I will be known for by my posterity. What will my legacy be?
When you are a dad to eight children, your flaws are incessantly on parade. So if you were to ask my children this afternoon how they would remember me, it might realistically sound like this:
My dad was do-it-yourself-home-repair-challenged.
He couldn’t tell you the name of a single player of any professional sport.
He loved telling stories.
He could not dance or sing, but he loved dancing and singing with me.
I have recently given my “legacy” more focus and decided what I hope to hear my children say:
My dad tried all his life to be a better disciple of the Savior.
More than anything else, my dad loved my mom.
My dad valued friendship. Especially mine.
Then I saw a Mormon Message titled “Moments That Matter Most,” and added another item. In the video, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf comments, “We would do well to slow down a little, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.”
I would like my legacy to include a witness that in my daily interactions with friends and family, I was present and observant of the things that mattered most.