The word "legacy" can mean different things to different people. To some, it means passing on wealth to their children. To others, it means ensuring their name lives on. In the end, leaving a legacy all comes down to being remembered, to making sure our lives counted for something that won't soon be forgotten.
Every year, charities reap the benefits of Canadians' generous holiday spirit, seeing a significant bump in December donations. In fact, more than a third of CanadaHelps' annual donations are achieved in this one month alone. While that seasonal generosity is important for charities, there is an unfortunate downside -- as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, donations tend to dry up, leaving gaps for many organizations. I call this the "summer drought."
I'm sure each of us can remember a time when we've volunteered at a local event, donated to a cause that is close to our hearts, or simply did something selfless because it felt good. It may not seem like it, but every time we do, we are developing the leadership skills required to run a successful business and ultimately become a stronger leader.
On Nov. 20, 2014, my world was rocked by words we all dread: "I'm sorry, you have cancer." We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another -- loved ones, perhaps parents and/or other relatives who have had to fight that battle. Some may have won that battle; however, many may not have been not as fortunate.
This was the fourth Christmas with Amanda gone. It feels just like the first one with the deep sighs and sadness. I personally am not feeling that it gets easier with each year going by because the loss is still there. It's not about forgetting or getting over it. It's about missing someone you loved. Yes certainly, we have other family that we love and care about. And we don't love them any less. My experiences this Christmas season have been phenomenal for giving back. Some on my own and some with Amanda's legacy.
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- overspending...Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
When was the exact moment that Christmas became synonymous with buying stuff I do not know, but it seems that we've reached a point of gifting no-return. The idea of simply spending Christmas with your family without the obligatory spending and consumption is not even a possibility. If you're an average person living in a Western nation you can be pretty confident that your intended gift-receiver already has everything he or she needs and most likely lives a year where their other superfluous wants are often met.
As my professional life blossomed so did the work expectations and long hours that I needed to put into my demanding career. It was an inverse relationship in the making: the more I worked, the less time I had for personal things in my life like athletics, friends and relationships. Something had to give. And sadly it was volunteering.
Mabel is one of the elderly participants in an ongoing study at Rush University in Chicago. When she decided to set a goal at 85 years old to write one letter a week, she no longer felt cocooned at home because of her arthritis. Researchers, including psychologist Dr. Patricia Boyle, have discovered that having a purpose in life can actually improve our health.
Though cancer made me see my mom in her worst physical state, I will always remember her as a strong businesswoman and a dedicated banker. She was a woman who paved the way for many in my family who wanted to pursue traditionally male careers, encouraging them to chase their dreams and show the world that women are powerful, too.
As a 26-year-old business professional I face very typical problems on a day to day basis, ones that many of you may face. I have to deal with traffic, I have to find parking in downtown Toronto, I have to deal with deadlines. But it wasn't that long ago that any of these trivial issues were not a concern to me as my only burden was finding my next meal. For two years I battled homelessness and my hope was dependant on youth homes and the kindness of strangers.
Author Joan Walker and Canadian country superstar Michelle Wright have something in common: in the midst of busy lives in the public eye, both women volunteer with World Vision Canada. Joan's recent conversation with Michelle sheds light on many aspects of the world renowned singer-songwriter's life, including her deep love for children overseas in desperate need.