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What Will People Say and Think about You?


Being “dead and gone” is not something that most of us want to even think about much less try to guess how we’ll be remembered. However, it can be very helpful to do so. I’ve always thought that one of the important parts of Heaven are the memories that others have of us after we are no longer here. What would people generally think of you if you “checked out” today? Is their likely view something you want to leave as is or possibly tune up a bit while you’re still here?

Love is how you stay alive, 
even after you are gone. 

Mitch Albom 

After We’re Gone?


This isn’t a subject most of us want to stop and think about…especially if we’re young. We would much prefer to focus on the here and now and what we will be doing in the next few days, especially the fun and enjoyable things. It’s no fun to think about what happens after we have passed away. Nevertheless, taking the time to think about how you will be remembered can be very helpful if you are honest with yourself about it. Such reflections typically point out a few areas we need to tune up to enhance the chances that we will be well remembered.

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

True Story: My friend Ed had the knack of making everyone feel like they were his very best friend. Whenever I was around Ed, I felt important and that I mattered to him. Cancer took Ed from us almost thirty years ago, but hardly a week goes by that I don’t think about him and how great he made us feel.

What will people think or say about you after you are dead and gone? Will they remember you as someone who was helpful to others or somewhat selfish and self-absorbed? Will they remember you as someone who knew what you were talking about or one who always seemed to be short on the facts? Will they remember how you worked to achieve something special with your life or as one who wasted a lot of the opportunities you had? If you died today, how would you be remembered?

During your funeral, people will reflect on a number of things. What you accomplished . . . did you do something worthwhile with your life? They’ll reflect on you and your family . . . did you look out for and take care of the other members of your family? And they will reflect on you as a citizen in the community . . . did you do things to make life better for others? They will assess you in many ways: Were you good or bad, giving or taking, concerned or indifferent, hardworking or lazy? Because each of us is different, memories of us will vary greatly. However, there seems to be one thing that people will always remember about you and me. Steve Goodier, author of A Life that Makes a Difference, pointed us to it:

After you are gone, people may forget most of what you have said and done. 
But they will remember that you cared about them. 

Rephrasing this very appropriate quote . . . they will remember how you made them feel. And the better you made them feel as a person, the longer you will be remembered and missed. Fame and fortune seem to have a limited shelf life, but the good feelings we instill in others while we are here seem to last and provide important memories long after we are gone.


What about Our Legacy?

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

Most of us want to build an important legacy that we leave behind. We want to do such things as write books, build companies, and invest wisely. We want to break records, invent new products, and discover new energy sources. We typically want our legacy to be something special, whatever it might be. 

But have you thought about what a legacy really is? We tend to think of our legacy as what we leave behind in some tangible way—something people can look at as a sign of our “success.”  But let’s stop and think about this for a moment.


Maybe our legacy, or a major portion of it, is actually something no one will ever see or be able to touch. Maybe it’s really the positive and good memories that someone has of us. Maybe it’s being developed early on in life, even today, and we add pieces to it every time we are around our friends, our family, and others with whom we work and play. 

If such is the case, I have no doubt that my friend Ed’s legacy will live here on earth for years and years to come, maybe forever. He built his legacy with his love, his positive attitude, and his caring actions toward his friends and those who came to know him. His legacy now lives on through us. There’s no better way to live a life than that!

To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.

Thomas Campbell

We Build Our Legacy through the Choices We Make


So here we are back to our choices once again. Whether we will be well remembered depends on the choices we make while we are living, especially how we choose to treat other people and how we make them feel. If you want to live forever, as my friend Ed seems to be doing, you’ll have to treat others in a special way and show that you truly care about them. 

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

Questions/Discussion Points



If we asked your classmates what kind of person you are, how would they describe you? 
Is that how you want to be remembered? 


Who do you remember that made you feel loved and valued? 
What can you learn from that person’s life? 


Are you building a life legacy worth claiming? 
How are you doing that? 

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