Lessons from a Lola: Leaving a Legacy

Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga

In "Lessons from Lola: Leaving a Legacy", Ana looks at lessons from a passing of a relative's friend, and explores how she can leave her legacy. Read more in her latest post.

The other day I was asked to write a eulogy for my grandmother’s friend, Lola Panching. Lola is the Filipino word for grandmother. With both of my grandmothers already passed away, I felt an expectation to write about the significant impact they all had on my life, a tribute to grandmothers in general.
As much of an honor as this was, I soon discovered my greatest obstacle: I’m terrible with details. My friends tease me about this all the time because I’m appalling with trivia, facts, history, and can’t even recall the names of songs that I love to sing. However, I can remember how a person, place, or event can make me feel. So in the end, I wrote about the experience of her and how she made me and everyone in her life feel. As I sifted through memories of warmth, laughter, and incredible hugs, I came to the conclusion that if I feIt this way, so would her family and community. 
As we come to the time of year that calls for tradition, ritual, and the gathering of family and friends, I wonder about what we all leave behind after the holidays. After all the days of life. We forget the details of our meal, the stories that were told, even the gift someone gave us, but we all remember how we felt at that moment. 
Do all Lolas leave a legacy then? This exceptional league of women had to survive and thrive in their 3rd world country, during a time period in history when the general worldview didn’t work in their favor. In spite of all that, they created and forged strong families and  communities of love, without being told “to lean in” and without even thinking about the word legacy itself. 

I have no idea who and how I will be in 30 years, but I've found myself contemplating what I will leave behind, what I will build, what my family and community will not only remember but feel.  When it came down to distilling the essence of her life, I arrived at four things that I learned from Lola on how to live a great life and build a great community:

Be BOLD: Her recent emails were in font size 36 and in bold to make sure you didn’t miss one word. And we never did.

Be LOUD: Never lose your voice despite going deaf or thinking no one is listening to you.

Be BIG: Despite her physical size (4' 10"), her stature of greatness was unquestionable.

Be LOVE: Fill your heart, and the hearts of others, with love.

Where are you being BOLD, LOUD, BIG and LOVE? How is your community a kaleidoscope of love? Write in the comments below or tweet us @Leadershippin.

To see your reflection of love, bring someone to see the giant Kaleidoscope at Madison Park and if you want to explore your feelings, visit this free Museum of Feelings through 12/15.

Image source.



"Lessons from a Lola: Leaving a Legacy" The Leadership Program, 2015

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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 tlpnyc.com “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."