Randy's legacy to his children was advice about how to live life, as illustrated in The Last Lecture by experiences in his life and the lessons learned from them. Specifically, Randy told them,
Don't bail...Get a feedback loop and listen to it...Show gratitude...Don't complain...Be good at something...Work hard...Find the best in everybody...And be prepared.
Pausch begins his lecture by announcing that his topic would be "my childhood dreams and how I have achieved them." He presents episodes from throughout his life, sharing PowerPoint slides to supplement his text with pictures of people and activities and products, discussing the lessons he learned from each incident, and explaining how each lesson helped him to prepare to take advantage of an opportunity at a later point in his life.
At the close of the lecture, Pausch reveals the true motivations behind his presentation. He states that his real topic was not how to achieve childhood dreams, but how to live life so that "the dreams will come to you." He goes on to give the second real reason for his presentation: "The talk's not for you, it's for my kids."