What in the World is an Ethical Will? by Jillian Stone

Jillian Stone headshot resizedDon’t get turned off without reading…you may be pleasantly surprised.

When we think of wills, we think of our last wishes or tangible items we want to leave to our heirs. Generally, this is not an exercise we enjoy thinking about so it’s usually put off until it becomes evident that we need one. In the marketing world, these sort of products are called unsought products for obvious reasons.

But what if the things we left to our heirs (and even those who are not our heirs) were not tangible things but things of the heart? What if we could share the things that are deep in our hearts that we never expressed out loud for whatever reason? What if there was something in your heart you wanted someone to know; perhaps how you feel about them or a dream you have for them? In a world filled with negativity and sorrow, can you imagine the blessing you could give to someone you love?

An Ethical Will is a way to express the deeper things of the heart. It could be about you or about someone you love. It is a type of love letter or a life letter; or it might be a video or a memoir.

Think of this as a sort of bucket list. For example:

  • What do you want to do that you have never done? (Life letter)
  • What do you want to say that was never said? (Love letter)
  • What would you like to see in the world that you have no power to make happen? (Life letter)
  • What positive words would you like to say to your children? (Love letter)
  • What would you most have liked to do for society that you never did? (Life letter)
  • What type of career would you liked to have had but chose motherhood instead? (Life letter)
  • What values do you want to pass on to your children? (Life letter)

But an Ethical Will doesn’t have to be only done at the end of your life or when you are in your autumn years. When we’re older we think back to what could have been. What if you could document your dreams for the future, for society, for the country, or for the world before you reach your autumn years? What if you could begin a legacy when you’re younger? That’s when a legacy begins really…when you are just starting life. If you documented, in advance, how you want the different seasons of your life to play out, wouldn’t it make it easier to reach your goals and accomplish your dreams?

Here are a few examples to help you set up your own ethical will:

  • Age 20-30: If you are in the prime of your life you might want to consider writing the first chapter of a book that will then be a work in progress throughout your life.
  • Age 20-30: If you are planning to get married, commit to writing what your dreams are for your husband and you.
  • Age 20-30: If you want to have a baby, commit to writing the kind of mother you will want to become.
  • Any age: Commit to writing perhaps in a 30 day journal, how you will accomplish your dreams and overcome your fears.
  • Age 50+: If you are in the autumn of your life, consider starting a memoir; what you have learned and what your dreams are for the remainder of your life. Putting them in writing will be a constant reminder to help you accomplish them.
  • Age 50+: Perhaps you have tons of photographs; you may want to create a story from them that documents your life or the life of your family.
  • Any age: Perhaps you are a member of a particular community and you want to document what the members of your community have experienced over the years in order to give another community hope or to document the history of a community.
  • Your life is precious and how you live it is more important than you know.

I am in my autumn years and there are things I deeply wish I would have done differently. And there are things I wish others had done differently in my life. But it is precisely because I experienced disappointments in my life that it has become my desire to dedicate the rest of my life to help others bring blessings into the lives of loved ones and friends. I am in the process of writing my own memoir; not because I am anyone important but because it is my hope that my life experiences, if shared, might impact someone to understand how important their life is. When we understand the impact our words, our actions and our experiences have on the lives of others, perhaps we would make some changes.

StoryTellingYour life is like a pebble thrown into the pond that ripples out into larger and larger circles. The closer ripples are your family. The second ripples are friends and acquaintances. The third ripples are your community and further out is the nation and the world. That’s quite an extensive reach for one little pebble.

Your life is precious and how you live it is more important than you know. Our lives are a series of short stories. Stories impact people. People impact the world. How will you impact your world for the better?

Story Telling Workshop

Jillian will be conducting a workshop to assist people in writing their story or creating an ethical will. If you would like to be a part of the workshop, please visit her website and fill out the form to be added to the list to be contacted when the workshop will be held.