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TONI THORNE: Like it or not, you’re building a legacy


TONI THORNE: Like it or not, you’re building a legacy

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AS I READ the latest news on television’s most successful host and his dismissal from Fox amid allegations of sexual harassment, I could not help but wonder how Bill O’Reilly’s children are handling this scandal. I mentioned to a friend: “I feel sorry for his children. When people have children they really ought to think thrice about their actions.”

My friend asked for an explanation. It is all well if John Brown decides he wants to engage in, let’s say, illegal activity. John Brown will eventually face the consequences of his actions. All the better if John Brown has no child. Can you imagine innocent children having to go to school and instead of being teased for their ponytails and choir boys, they are constantly reminded of the actions of their parents? Innocent children ought not to have such shame inflicted on them. This is why I believe parents need to think thrice before they commit certain actions. 

Perhaps you are not Bill O’Reilly who walked away with a $25 million payout. Some may even say that his children have a price to pay for their shame and with such a payout, they may never have to work again. However, what is perfect about being able to sleep at night and look oneself in the mirror is that they are both priceless. No amount of money can purchase such things. 

Right here, many parents commit actions which are not in line with parental consideration. I write this with caution because I am not a parent. Sure, some may say that when you love your child, you may commit or engage in some acts for the betterment of the child. Is this really so? Is this a long term viewpoint?

As a child, there are certain things I dread hearing about my parents. If someone says my parents are ugly or that, for instance, my father only had one shirt starting out as a young lawyer, I am unmoved. However, allegations of lacking integrity and treating other people badly hurt my belly more than a laxative and a cup of milk as I’m lactose intolerant.

When we were nine years old, there were two boys who used to roam the school telling everyone that they were rich. Imagine how they felt years later when it was made public that their lifestyle was built on actions by their mother which were less than honest.

Therefore, I’d like parents to think of what legacy are they leaving for their children. Many of us don’t really think of legacy. Some of us children tend not to consider it either. There are few things more disappointing than when children do not continue the legacy of their parents. Legacy is not necessary following in your parents footsteps. For example, legacy is carried on when your parents excel at their career and you decide to build on that excellence by being the best you can be in yours.

The only thing worse than when children fail to carry on a legacy is when parents fail to establish one. Let me leave you with what happened last week in the supermarket.

At the checkout, this man at the top of the line decided that it was all of our business to know (quite emphatically) that he had just “come into money” from a recently deceased relative. He also thought that we should be aware that he intended on spending “every cent and (wasn’t) leffin’ a cent for none ah my children to lick it out when I gone!”. Only one woman got over the fact that he was sharing this information with strangers and replied: “Yuh right! When I dead my children would work out how they would bury me. I would done be gone long.”

Sounds simple but that is the root of the kind of thinking that prevents us from building legacies. There and then I decided to write this article. I just didn’t know how to spin it. Long story short: parents think about the legacies you are creating for yourselves and your children. Thanks for the spin, Bill O’Reilly.

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email: [email protected]