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Mother, daughter and granddaughter looking at an old photo album

Teaching Children the Significance of Legacy

At the end of my cul-de-sac stands a tall tree whose leaves have fallen. The only thing that remains are dangling seedpods that resemble tiny wings waiting for the next gust of wind to be released. These seeds all have the potential to start new life when they hit the soil and are nurtured by the environment. These seeds are the legacy of the tree. Our lives are no different than that tree. We bear witness to the change of season, and we too sow seeds that leave a lasting impression on the earth and have the potential to bring forth new life.

This past summer, my children and I had the opportunity to visit a small, yet powerful exhibit, “Wreaths Across America.” In December, during the holiday season, the organization and a group of volunteers place wreaths on the graves of soldiers in national cemeteries. As they lay each wreath, there is a moment of thanks for the life of the one who is buried there. Their names are spoken, and their sacrifice remembered.

This was a powerful outing for my family. We learned about the organization and shared our own story; my children were able to witness their grandfather being honored for his sacrifice for our country. I was pinned as a survivor and given tokens of honor for his service in the Vietnam War. We wrote his name on a memory wall. Several volunteers had stories just like ours. It was a beautiful moment across time and generations as children and grandchildren of parents who served from WWII to those who currently serve in the military gathered together.

The children were able to participate by writing a note that would be sent to soldiers in the hospital. They also learned about the power of connection, the gift of gratitude, and honor for those who have gone before us. When we returned home, they put on bracelets they had received at the event and wore the pins. We had rich conversations about the seeds that were planted that day.

The motto for “Wreaths Across America” is remember, honor, and teach.

This idea is important throughout the year, and particularly moving during the holiday season. This is the legacy that was palpable during our visit and stood taller than my tree that day. May we honor those who have gone before us and remember that we are living out what will one day be our own legacy, carried on to the next generation.

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About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS

About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS Jeané Liburd has worked in the field of child Iife since 2005. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is trained in play therapy. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Liberty University. Throughout her career, she has provided services for children and families in various settings including hospitals, pediatric hospice, and community programs. The focus of her work is supporting children and families who have experienced illness, grief, and loss.