In yesterday’s Daily Stoic email, I read a beautiful story about an old man called Ken Watson who bought 14 years of presents for his two-year-old neighbour.
You see, he’d told her that he would die at 100 but when it looked like he wasn’t going to, he bought the gifts so that she’d still get a present every year. He died at 87.
This particular issue of the newsletter calls for us to think about what we are doing today to make the world a better place in the years to come, for those that will come after us.
It highlights an old Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
“While Marcus Aurelius and Seneca took pains to discourage chasing legacy or posthumous fame, they did believe it was the philosopher’s duty to serve the common good—to contribute to the Roman Empire in a way that would allow it to stand for future generations,” goes the newsletter.
It goes on to remind us that while we can only live in the present, we must do so in a way that doesn’t bring about detrimental results for our children and their children.