Who can help you tell your life story?
By Erin Drury Boorn, senior philanthropic officer, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Life can often feel like a big checklist – groceries, laundry, work goals and more. At the end of the day, as you are falling asleep and thinking about what you did not get done today, you may start to think, “What am I going to be remembered for?” Hopefully more than just checking off the list.
The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler is a great reminder to live and be intentional and authentic in every moment. When faced with mortality, Feiler thinks about who would represent him to his young daughters if his life on earth was cut short. He thinks about the people in his life who would share his spirit and give the best advice to his daughters. You cannot read this book without thinking, “Who would be my council that represents me to my family?”
Like many, and like Feiler, you think about your life phases. For me, there’s my growing up in Tennessee, my college life, young adult Atlanta life, career life, me as a wife, and then mom life. It’s not an easy question about who represents me from each of these stages, who has great advice to give my young children about who I would want them to become and how I’d want them to make decisions, but it is a great exercise to think through.
Do you have these people in your life and do they know you well enough to be on the council? In The Council of Dads, Feiler goes to each of his “chosen Dads” and asks them to be on the council. He asks what advice they would give to his daughters and tell his friends why he’s chosen them.
The Community Foundation recently hosted an event for our donors where Feiler talked about the journey of choosing his own council and the importance of being mindful of your life story and the legacy you will leave. Whether you feel invincible or not, the gift to your own “council” of telling them how important they are in your life is powerful alone. I’ve added this exercise to my checklist so hopefully, I won’t let the laundry and groceries get in the way of checking it off.