3 Things That I Hope Will Be On My Gravestone Someday

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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As a kid growing up, did you ever wonder who would show up to mourn at your funeral if you died? I did this as a junior high and high school kid a lot. It wasn't that I wished I were dead or thought of ending my life. It was just sort of the natural thing to do as an insecure, unstable teenager, I guess. However, as I've grow up, gotten married, and begun raising a family, my thoughts on death and life have changed quite a bit.

Lets be honest: we all hope that by the end of our lives we have made an impact on those around us. Someday we want people to stand at our funerals, or memorial services, and remember good things about us. No one hopes to have negative or unflattering words said about them after they’re gone. That would be weird.

But as we grow up, our perspectives change. As adults, we should no longer simply hope that a bunch of people we knew in our lives show up to pay their respects at our funerals, as if this were some sort of numbers game. The person with most attendees at his or her funeral wins! That’s immature and the stuff that children think of. It’s greater than that. It’s bigger than death. It’s about life and how we lived it.

The other day I began to think about the legacy I am leaving as a husband, father and friend. Bottom line: I hope I leave a strong legacy. At the end of my days, I hope I lived the kind of life that echoes into future generations. Through failures and success, I’m learning, everyday, what being alive is all about. Not just living…being alive! I’ve screw this up a lot. Like every human-being, my brokenness sometimes clouds my view and I lose sight of what’s really important.

But, everyday I’m blessed with is a chance to grow. When my life is over, I don’t want a bunch of people to show up at my funeral just to show up. I hope my wife and children and friends and family, gather together and say this about me:

He Loved Extravagantly.

I want my wife to know that she was adored. I want my children to know that I cherished them and that they were the delight of my heart. I want my friends to know how deeply grateful I was for each of them. I wouldn’t want there to be any doubt in anyone’s mind or heart. I want to be the kind of person who loves without end. I don’t want my love for others to have a boundary. John Eldredge has one of the best quotes on this in his book, Wild At Heart. He says,

I want to love with much more abandon and stop waiting for others to love me first.

It’s up to me to love extravagantly! The way I choose to live everyday will be the determining factor.

He Served Passionately

I want to recklessly and fervently serve with all of my heart. I don’t care if I ever have a ton of money, or recognition, or prestige, or my name on a wall. I don’t really even care if people say that I was a lot of fun to hang around with, or that I was the life of the party. That would all be nice, but it means very little.

What I hope is that my life was lived in such a way that people felt taken care of and served. I want my wife to always know that her needs were more important than my own. I want my children to know, without a doubt, that dad would drop whatever he was doing to help them, at any time, if it were possible. I want those I lead to feel as though their leader served them, first and foremost, before I directed and guided.

 He Gave Liberally

I recently saw a quote from Andy Stanley on Twitter that said this:

The value of a life is measured in terms of how much of it was given away.

That’s absolutely the truth! And I can only hope and pray that when my life is measured, at the end of my days, that it’s clear: I gave everything I had away. I want to live in complete surrender. It’s not easy though! I’m finding that it’s very hard, actually. It’s so easy to live your life with a clinched fist. The hardest thing in the world to do, sometimes, is live with an open hand. But as Dave Ramsey says, “When you live with a clinched fist, nothing gets out. But nothing can get in either.”

This is one of those posts I refer to as a “gut-check post.” I can type things like this all day long, but if it doesn’t play out in my life, it means nothing. Obviously, I’ve got work to do. The growth of my legacy does not happen out of wishful thinking. It only happens out of active living!

What do you want to be written on your gravestone someday?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.