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What My Grandfather's Legacy Can Teach You

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It is with regret that I reflect on the legacy of my grandfather Simon Okoro. I never really took the time to get to know him. Blame it on selfish youth. Blame it on the fact we did not speak the same language. Blame it on the physical distance between us. I don't know which one to blame exactly. One thing is clear and it is I missed out. I ask myself why we can have greatness among us and be totally blind to it. I mostly heard about him through the stories my mother told me and I thought it was sufficient.

My grandfather died not long after his stroke. I believe my grandfather did not care for the helplessness that the stroke incurred upon him and it was a part of his demise. It is hurtful even writing those words now. I think my grandfather would have preferred I remember him as the entrepreneur, father, husband, and grandfather. Rather than the man who had his life change due to the cruelty of time. So for his sake, I choose this because I know it is what he would want.

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Youth Can Be Blind

In fact, he spent time with us here in the U.S. when he was recovering from his stroke and I helped when I could. Although, I always allowed the fact that we did not speak the same language to create a chasm between us. It seemed at the time impossible to cross, especially given my grandfather's stoic nature compared to my grandmother's more jovial one. Besides he would always be there right? Foolish as it sounds if I am honest it is how I felt.

I realize now that this quiet natured and soft-spoken man possessed a will that does not exist in many of us. My grandfather was indeed a man of little words but much action.

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My Grandfather's Will to Succeed

My dearly departed grandfather was a distinguished entrepreneur. He had no formal education, in fact, he could not read or write. Through sheer grit and ingenuity, he was able to build a business that supported his nine children.

He was jeered and told many times he was foolish to blaze his own trail. In fact, my grandfather sent my mother to school at a time when educating a girl was deemed a useless pursuit.

He instilled this indomitable drive to my uncles and aunts who are all well-educated and highly successful individuals. My grandfather’s oldest, my beloved mother is a testament to my grandfather's willingness to not allow society to dictate whom or what he would be.

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You Daily Actions Become Your Legacy

It is amazing to me what the actions of one person can create. How the daily choices you and I make today can affect generations to come. These actions are what will one day become your legacy.

All of my families success is due to the fact one man refused to give up. Refused to allow his current circumstances to determine his future. Refused to be labeled by his beginning. Refused to stop in the face of insurmountable obstacles. Refused to set the bar any lower than his absolute best.

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The Legacy Of Those Before You Can Guide You Today

The legacy of my grandfather is my guiding my steps today. You too are guided by the quiet heroes in your life. You too have an amazing person or many amazing people in your life who have laid the groundwork for you.

It is by paying homage to these figures and more importantly truly understanding their story which brings true meaning to our lives. It also allows us to continue to weave the beautiful tapestry called life that they have left for you. This tapestry so to speak has clues to lift you out of our current circumstances or speak to that still place inside you.

Its threads strength can give you the mental fortitude to face the crippling fear which at times want to dominate our existence. It can encourage you to be grateful for those things that you so often take for granted. You have this in some capacity, you must only open your heart and eyes to see it.

Thank goodness, for those dynamic people before you. Thank goodness, that you are not alone in your struggles. Thank goodness, that success is not some elusive path set aside for just a few. It has a blueprint laid down by those who have lived before you. It is just a matter of having the willingness to not veer from its quiet instruction.