Oldest’s teacher runs a fantastic series. They are her fascinating facts and Oldest loves them. She has come home with many a fascinating fact. It is a brilliant idea as it inspires the children to want to learn more about the fact. However, the other week Oldest came home with the following fascinating “fact” –
“Not many people would have wanted to get in a lift with Steve Jobs as he wasn’t a nice man.”
The nit-picker in me immediately informed Oldest that she hadn’t shared a fact.
“Yes it is”, she insisted.
I then went on to explain that she must have become muddled because she hadn’t shared a fact, she had shared an opinion. This got me thinking about when opinion becomes fact and the danger of that, especially when you start passing down opinion as fact to children. Then I started pondering about Steve Jobs and all that he had achieved. Yet, my oldest daughter only knew that apparently not many people would have wanted to get into a lift with him.
I explained to Oldest that in fact I would have liked to have shared a lift with Steve Jobs. I explained that yes, some people, probably his early Apple employees, would not have wanted to get in a lift with him. I explained that this was because he was a man who was known for being harsh at times, he didn’t suffer fools. Some people claimed that he was bash and arrogant. However, I explained, there was also a lot of good about Steve Jobs. I then showed her films of him speaking and Oldest herself was able to see how skilfully he worked an audience, how he was able to keep everyone captivated. She could then see why a lot of people would have happily spent some time in a lift with him. She understood for herself why a lot of his employees followed him when he left to set-up NeXT (a start-up focussed on producing high-powered computers for the education industry). Jobs was known for inspiring people to produce great work.
Steve Jobs wasn’t a caricature, he wasn’t a saint either. He was a human being. Human beings are flawed and that is what makes us human. However, it troubles me that we often forget this about Steve Jobs. That the “stories” of Jobs are being passed on as fact.
To me, Steve Jobs is a man who was inspiring, a man who had the courage to chase his dreams. Steve Jobs was a man who I would have wanted to share a lift with, a man I would be privileged to share a lift with.
The memory of Steve Jobs and how some people view him has got me thinking. What will be my footprint that I leave on the world? I have spoken in the past about my blogging footprint and the fears I have about The Daily Mail trawling my blog for quotes taken out of context. However, I am nobody special. I haven’t achieved anything extraordinary so goodness knows what I will be remembered for. All I know is that I would hate to be remembered as someone people didn’t want to get in a lift with. Let’s be honest there will be people who think that about me. Not because I am brash or arrogant but because I am socially awkward. I either become tongue-tied or I talk at people. I’m not sure what is preferable, the painful silence or the need to fill the silence with meaningless words.
I used to care a great deal about what people thought about me. Especially when I first moved to Jersey but then I figured that some people just won’t like you and you won’t like them and that’s fine. Or is it? What if it these people, the people who don’t know you are the ones who share their memories of you when you are gone. What if these anecdotes then become facts about your personality? What will be my legacy? This blog? This blog which reflects my life and thoughts. This blog which could be open to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. That worries me too. Would I still want this blog online? In some ways it is so personal that it is like leaving a box of personal letters and inviting the world to rifle through them.
If the internet and digital community can tell us that Steve Jobs was a man that we didn’t want to get in a lift with then what will it say about the rest of us. In some ways it is great that we have this digital community, that we connect with others in grief. In other ways is the digital community responsible for us seeing people as very one-dimensional? Forgetting the “real” person.
I’m not a billionaire and I haven’t changed the world. Many people argue that our legacy is our children. I disagree, a legacy is something that we want to leave for our children. Our legacy can impact on our children. All I do know is that how we act now can become our legacy and I hope that I not remembered for being someone that no one wanted to get in a lift with.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
? Shannon L. Alder
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