What inspired you to start Legacy Nation?
Two events triggered my passion for Legacy Nation. First of all, I had two sets of grandparents — one that I lived with growing up in a two-story flat in upstate New York and knew as well as my parents, and the other set of grandparents that I never met. I still remember the happiness that I enjoyed with the grandparents that lived upstairs and the sadness that I felt at now knowing anything about my paternal grandparents.
I saw Legacy Nation as an opportunity to bridge two worlds. Parents and grandparents could write letters to their children and grandchildren on an ongoing basis while they are alive, sharing their wisdom, experiences, trials and tribulations, joys as well as the faith, hope, and love that they have in their kids and grandkids. Their children and grandchildren then would have those letters as a legacy that they could learn from and continue to build for their children and grandchildren as well.
At the same time, our nation is hurting. We need a re-energized faith, a new hope, and a return to that family foundation of love and respect that our forefathers relied upon to build these United States of America.
Progress is wonderful, technology is great, and the speed of change is a fact of life. Unfortunately, traditional family values are feeling the pinch from our current economic crisis and the demands placed upon our time result in less meaningful interaction with our kids and grandkids. I’m worried about the future of my children and grandchildren.
I founded Legacy Nation as a means to return to those values that made our nation great as well as an admired and respected people, a beacon of hope to mankind, and a blessing to our children and grandchildren.
How do you envision the movement impacting our nation?
I believe that people are searching and ready for what Legacy Nation has to offer. Traveling from city to city and state to state, I listen to the cares and concerns of my fellow citizens, parents, and grandparents. People who genuinely feel that the family is the core of our society will find a home with us as they build a legacy for their children and grandchildren that will be valued, remembered, and treasured forever. Legacy Nation is a vehicle that will transport us to a future where family is the foundation of our society in the same way that it made our country respected in the past.
Why do you think it is important for letters to be left behind?
I believe that it’s important to leave letters for your children and grandchildren to give them a perspective on life in general, your family traditions, the role that faith has played in your family as well as the wisdom that you’ve acquired over the years. In addition, each letter is a ray of hope in that it communicates to the recipient that we all face challenges and obstacles in our lives and that with patience, persistence, passion, and purpose those challenges and obstacles can be overcome and result in a meaningful life.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the next generation?
I think the greatest challenges for the next generation will focus upon reclaiming and reaffirming those values that define our heritage as a Christian nation. Searching for happiness and fulfillment in pursuits largely defined by greed and selfishness only medicate us from the pain of not accepting the fact we’re created for two reasons: to love God with all of our mind, soul, and heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What sparked the idea to write Letters to Ethan?
One day I started thinking about my own mortality and how I would want to be remembered by my children and grandchildren. I just didn’t want to die and leave them a memory, although positive memories are certainly important and valuable. I wanted them to know that they’re here for a purpose, that God loves them, that I love them, and I wanted to share the mistakes and miracles of my own life in the hope that it would be of some benefit to them as they encountered their own challenges and opportunities.
Do you really think letters can have an impact on young people?
Absolutely. I’ve seen the results first-hand in adult children whose parents left legacy letters for them. In addition, when parents have shared letters with their adult children, the feelings of joy, contentment, and satisfaction have strengthened the bond between them immensely. In addition, when a young person realizes that a grandparent took the time to write them a legacy letter, it has a definite impact upon their sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
What is the American Family Foundation?
The American Family Foundation is an approved not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to enrich the lives of children and families in the United States and to support other not-for-profit organizations with a similar purpose.
If you could offer just one piece of advice to the next generation, what would it be?
God gave you three priceless gifts: your emotions, your intellect, and your will. And if you remember this thought you’ll know what to do with them: “God said, ‘Let’s build a better world.’ And I said, ‘How? The world is such a cold, dark place and so complicated now that there’s nothing I can do.’ God in all His wisdom said, ‘Just build a better you.’”
How can people get involved with Legacy Nation?
We welcome everyone to become a member of Legacy Nation. You can to two things to get involved today.
First, register with us and begin creating a written legacy for your children and grandchildren. Post a note or a letter as often as you like. Share it with your loved ones whenever you wish. Next year I’ll be publishing another book of legacy letters from parents and grandparents throughout America. If your letter touches our hearts, we’ll ask you for permission to include it in a book that you can leave to your family as a part of your legacy. Also, we’ll give you an option to have your letter framed and sent to your loved ones on special Legacy Nation letterhead.
Secondly, we need your help in the fight against child abduction, exploitation, and abuse. Click on the link for the Child Protection Technology Team and create a safer world for your children and your community. Legacy Nation is the clearinghouse for the latest information and technology to keep our kids safe. Your membership mini-CD is remotely programmable and will always keep you updated and your family secure.