None of us possess the power to slay the DNA dragon. The sparkling blue eyes, the well pronounced nose, the dimple on the double chin, and the devilish grin were all manufactured in God’s factory. The raw materials mined and passed down via your parents’ gene pool. No getting around nature on this one, unless you know a good plastic surgeon.

Beyond the natural passing of traits, we hold the key to a more deliberate exchange. The collective experiences, quirks, culture, and history that have shaped our essence can be unlocked and exposed to the world around us. Let me elaborate.

While screening some videos to download for my children last month, I decided to pass on a musical blast from my past.

“Who is Michael Jackson?” my youngest son asked.

“Just watch,” I replied.

A week later, my 8 year old was still whistling tunes from the King of Pop. Mom had struck again. First, I passed to them Tom and Jerry. Next, I passed them The Three Stooges. Now, I pass them Michael Jackson.

My triple platinum status in this department surely outweighs my husband’s trio of Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, and Run-DMC.

Passing on something classic and incredible somehow gives us assurance that we have preserved what made us unique. The next generation will be wiser and more adept. This highlights the most optimistic view.

The dark side of the force rears its ugly head when one attempts to pass on (intentionally or unintentionally) the worst of our core. Discrimination, pollution, waste, abuse, violence, greed, disrespect, hatred, jealousy, rage, selfishness and bullying serve as examples of the most ominous traditions we hand down.

These are only outdone by finishing off the last ounces of Kool-Aid in the refrigerator without making another batch. No peace will come to the one that commits this act of supreme inconsideration.

Wide and easy is the path that will tempt us to pass on indifference and pessimism. Narrow and difficult is the pathway that challenges us to promote passion, creativity and optimism.

Everyday we awaken with a choice on what to pass on. Which will you choose?

Every chance I get, I will decide to secure my legacy by making the effort to pass on the best of my era. Anything I fail to get right with my children, I will try again to make right with my grandchildren.

Before my gray hair sets in permanently, I will be prepared to let them know about my childhood in north Philadelphia. I will squeeze in every detail about Saturday nights at the roller skating rink. I will share the experience of my high school prom and graduation.

They will walk down the aisle with me to secure a college degree and to marry a faithful husband. I will include them in the secrets of managing relationships and finances. They will absorb the joy of buying my first new car and my first new house. I will pass on the feeling of adventure that blossomed from my first corporate assignment with General Electric.

Through me they will witness the strength it takes to compete in the corporate world and the compassion it takes to raise up a happy household. They will realize the greatest feeling of all is that of service and giving to others. These color snapshots of my life will be the ones with a smile on my face. That’s what I will pass on.

Andrea Blaylock has lived in Forest Park since 1994. When she isn’t chasing her four kids and husband, she is serving on the library board of trustees, majoring in apparel design at Dominican University and she says, enjoying every day with which God has blessed her.