When Cato’s son Marcus fell at the second battle of Philippi in 42 BCE, his final act was to shout his father’s name. When Cato’s daughter Porcia wanted to prove her mettle to the conspirators as they plotted against Caesar, she simply told her husband, “I am Cato’s daughter.”
That’s the power of legacy. That’s what it looks like when you have taught your children, not with words, but with your own actions.
Now, thankfully, we live in a world far less violent. We (hopefully) don’t have to worry about our kids giving the ultimate sacrifice, inspired by their patrimonial legacy. But is it not still essential that we inspire them? That we provide footsteps for them to follow in, set a standard that they strive to live up to?
As you go through this world, deciding how to pay your taxes, what industry to work in, who to vote for, what kind of neighbor to be, think about what sort of tradition you are setting. Remember, providing for your family is not just about having a house and warm coats in the winter. It’s also about giving them guidance, giving them an example that shows them what to do in difficult situations. Your reputation matters… not just in business, but at home.
Seek to live and to parent in such a way that your name means something to them. That they understand that they were born into something, that they were raised by someone which instills a kind of responsibility and obligation as well as confidence and competence. They are your son and daughter. That matters. That means something. That should inspire something.