Behind the Book: Dan Taylor

In this first of three posts Dan Taylor introduces his new Brazos book and shares the story behind its birth.

I have written about spiritual legacy because I have myself been blessed by the spiritual legacy of others to me. As have you.

I first began thinking about spiritual legacy in the 1980’s when teaching life writing courses for seniors. In the beginning, I thought I was simply teaching a memoir course, letting people get some of their life down on paper. In reading their work, however, I discovered that they were telling powerful stories soaked in values, life lessons, and how they came to understand the world.

Most of these stories involved characters from their lives—family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and the like. I came to see how people are shaped by their stories and how stories are the primary vehicle for passing on what I came to see as a spiritual legacy.

It was also around this time that I became more keenly aware of the spiritual legacies that had shaped my own life. I come from a story-telling family, primarily because my father was a man who lived his life in light of the stories of his past (for better and worse). He was the main story-teller of the family, and once he discovered that I was likely to write some books, he started looking to me, I believe, to be the preserver of his stories.

Also in the 1980’s I wrote a book, Letters to My Children: A Father Passes on His Values, that explicitly tried to pass on values to my then young children through stories from my life. I wrote these letters with no thought of them being a book, but eventually they were collected. I had been blessed by the stories of others, and it was my turn to tell some of my own.

In the 1990’s I wrote another book, Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our Stories, that explored how we all are shaped by the stories that surround us—from family, church, education, and popular culture. And I later helped start The Legacy Center, an organization devoted to helping people and institutions tell their stories.

So Creating a Spiritual Legacy grows out of a life time of learning and teaching about stories and how they tell us who we are and how to live. This new book is a practical, step-by-step guide to discovering your own spiritual legacy and contributing to the legacy of those you care about.