What Do Sidney Poitier and Ethical Wills Have In Common?

I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned Sidney Poitier’s latest book, Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter. In it the aging actor writes a series of inspirational letters to his newly born great-granddaughter. Drawing on his own experience, he reflects on some of life’s profound themes – love, faith, death, personal strengths, and failures. This isn’t so much biography as it is an elder’s advice for a great-granddaughter Poitier knows he will never see into adulthood. You can read a review here.

Poitier’s book is really an elaborate, extended ethical will. Unlike property wills, an ethical will is a “spiritual” letter to a loved one in which a person writes about their values and beliefs, life lessons learned, hopes, what they’re grateful for, faith, and forgiveness.

We all owe it to those we love to take the time to compose our ethical will. None of us know how much time we have on earth. Accidents, illness, and violent acts can cut our lives short. How do you want to be remembered?

Here are some other ethical will websites you might find helpful.




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Image created by Dan Curtis from a photo by Kevin Walsh

4 Responses to What Do Sidney Poitier and Ethical Wills Have In Common?

  1. Dan, I am enjoying reading your blogs and this one has encouraged me to buy Sidney’s book and read it.

    Annie Payne (APH member in Perth Australia)

  2. Thanks for your comment, Annie. I think you’re my first Australian connection! Nice to know that your enjoying my blog. If you have suggestions for future articles, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


  3. What a wondeful idea. I stumbled across your site and the timing is interesting as I am expecting my first grandchild and have been reflecting on these very ideas and now you have planted the seed of action…thanks!

  4. Karen-
    I’m glad you stumbled across my blog! And that this post has resonated with you. Keep in mind that I’ll be running a weekly series on the writing of an ethical will. You might find it helpful.

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