My Grandma Josephine wore her first pair of high heels when she was 13. For the rest of her life, she wore only high heels, and told me once that she thought her leg muscles had stretched to accommodate. It hurt to wear “normal” shoes, she said. Give her sparkly, strappy, classy pumps any day. They were her signature style.

To this day, I can’t pass by a cute pair of heels without thinking about her, the same way that I think about my Aunt Bernnetta when I see a cute purse, my sister Katrina whenever I notice pretty pillows and home décor from HomeGoods, and my mom whenever I see a beautiful, handcrafted quilt.

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy this week — the things we leave behind, the things we’re remembered for – not only during our time on earth, but long after we’ve left this life.

While it’s the external trappings that can trigger a memory – whether it’s shoes, purses, or quilts – those things are simply the tangible remembrances of each person’s intangible characteristics.

And I’ve realized that much of the leadership we provide to others is in the small things, the quiet things – the unconscious actions we perform daily that are rote to us but revelatory to others. Whether it’s the kindness we show our children, the generosity we exhibit toward strangers, or the cheerful competence we extend to our coworkers, our small actions matter.

What’s your legacy? What “small” things are you doing today that will have big repercussions for those in your sphere of influence?

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:42

Kristin Demery

Author Kristin Demery

Kristin Demery is married to her best friend, Tim, and a mom to three girls. As a grammar geek and Jane Austen addict, her background in journalism has led to everything from managing a social network site for moms to working as an editorial assistant for an academic journal. Now a freelance writer and editor, she writes about mistakes, motherhood, and the power of grace at theruthexperience.com.

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