Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's Legacy

I can imagine what you’re thinking: Not another story about Michael Jackson! I don’t often blog about pop culture, but today I’m sharing thoughts on the legacy left by Michael Jackson and the legacy you’ll leave.

His music:
Michael Jackson was a genius. Much has been written about his career, and his name will continue to be known through his music. He left an amazing musical legacy to the world.

His children:
Prince Michael I (12), Paris (11), Prince Michael II (known as Blanket, 7).

Despite handlers, a business manager, and an attorney, Michael Jackson may have failed the people he loved most: his children. With as many people taking care of MJ’s business, how could no one know whether he had a will or where to find it? Though a will has been found, it’s still unclear if Michael Jackson made provisions for his children to have a guardian. How can that be possible? Didn’t his attorney advise him to appoint one?

Newspapers all seem agree that Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine, is the logical choice. I think she should be the doting grandmother these children desperately need, but I’m not sure she’s up for the task of full-time parent. At 79, is Katherine Jackson the best this large, famous family can come up with? I’d hate to see these children face another loss if their grandmother died. Even if she lives until they all reach their majority, will she be capable of handling teenagers until Blanket turns 18 and she’s 90?

Your legacy:

As a writer, you have an opportunity to leave a written legacy. A hundred years from now, could the literary world study your books instead of the works of Jane Austen? Or will you be like the multi-published Christian author who regrets the secular books that bear her name? Now is the time to decide if you’re writing the kind of book you want to leave as a legacy.

Your responsibilities:
--Make a will and make sure the prominent people in your life know pertinent details; such as which individual or law firm holds the original document.
--Appoint guardians for any minor children. It’s hard to imagine anyone else raising your children. Do it anyway. Never leave this most important decision about your children to chance.
--Buy life insurance. Get as much as you can possibly afford. Divide your proposed amount of life insurance by your annual salary. Is it enough to provide your loved ones with financial security?

Your opportunity:
You can write a family history for your children and their children. It’s easy to put this off, since you can always do it tomorrow. But you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Waiting another day may be too late. People die every day, and family stories are lost forever.

I have a child who will never know his father. It’s up to me to record stories for him now because there’s no guarantee I’ll be around when he’s old enough to hear them.

Last Wednesday—only one week ago—Michael Jackson was diligently working on his come-back tour. When he woke up on Thursday, he had no idea it would be his last day on Earth. Problem is, you and I don’t know how many days or months or years we’ve been allotted either. Make the most of today.

~Roxanne Sherwood


Karen Lynn said...

Good thoughts Roxanne. Jeff and I did the whole will and wishes thing as soon as we had our first child. Thing is, kids are grown and our wishes have been altered a bit with different needs and concerns now. It's time to update-thanks for the reminder.

Roxanne Sherwood said...


You're right. Even if you've made a will, it may need to be updated.

Sometimes, the decision about your child(ren)'s guardian changes as everyone grows older. Also, if you've relocated across state lines, your chosen executor may be ineligible to fulfill that duty.

This is a great time for all of us to update our wills.

Thanks for stopping by The Writing Road.