What is Your Legacy?
Legacy – something left by or received from an ancestor or predecessor.
What thing or things do we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren? What do we want to be remembered for? What do we want them to say about us at our funeral?
There are many things that we would like to pass on to our kids/grandkids, like money, possessions, and good memories. To the Christian, the most important thing we can pass on is our faith in Jesus Christ. We must “walk the talk” with those closest to us. But there are practical ways we can do this. Our small home group, made up of mostly retired grandparents, came up with the following relational and spiritual ways. While these apply to grandparents, you could also apply them to your children with a little creative thinking.
– take them out for ice cream, or to a park, or to a $5 below store and buy them one thing, or go to a cemetery. This last one may sound odd but it worked well for us. Especially in old cemeteries, you can see how old people were when they died, did the parents outlive any of their children, what’s the oldest birth date in the cemetery? Maybe talk a little about what life was like back then.
– go over old photos/movies of you, their parents or your parents with them. Tell them of the good things their parents did as kids. Philippians 4:8 encourages us to do this.
– let them know the good things you see in them. Galatians 6:10 says to do good to all people.
– go to their sporting events or trick-or-treating with them.
– Read short stories to them like Dr. Quicksolve or from some Christian books that are age appropriate, like “Tales of the Kingdom” & “Tales of the Resistance” by David & Karen Mains (these are older books, produced in 1983 & 1986 respectively, but they’re GREAT).
– cook with them. Cookies are always a favorite.
– go fishing with them. This gives you a lot of time to talk with them.
– get an ‘ice-breaker question book’. Ask them things like “If you could live in any time period, which one would it be and why?”. These types of questions are meant to be conversation starters.
– go to special events with them, like a museum or an ice-carving festival or a weekend trip to the Creation Museum or the Ark Encounter.
– ask them to describe you in 1-2 words. Compare those words with the words they choose to describe your spouse with.
– if you keep a memory book or you remember certain things you did with you kids or your parents, tell them about it.
– have a game night, like Clue or Monopoly, or play cards or video games with them.
– go to a cider mill in the fall for some freshly made apple cider and donuts.
– have a pizza & video night. Have a picnic on your living room floor.
– if they don’t go to your church, ask their parents if they can come to yours one week.
– ask them if there’s anything you can pray with them about. And then pray with them.
– at the appropriate time, let them know God loves them and has a plan for their lives.
– encourage them to seek out their spiritual gifts. Maybe you could help them. There are spiritual gift inventories online. What did God uniquely gift them with.
– take them to help serve at an interfaith shelter or a rescue mission or a local food bank. Use it as an opportunity to explain Matthew 25:34-40 about helping the ‘least of these’.
– let your adult children know, either by telling them or writing it on a card, how they’re being good parents or how they’re providing for their family or how proud you are of them for finishing school or college or at their work. There’s nothing quite like a parent’s blessing to really bless them. Proverbs 16:24 says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”. Proverbs25:11 KJV says “Like apples of gold in setting of silver is a word aptly spoken”.
– really listen when they talk to you. Avoid making quick judgments about their problems. Affirm their fears but point them to Jesus. James 1:19,20 says “…Everyone should be quick to listen,…an slow to speak”.
– share about you, your parents/grandparents/ancestors. Let them know if you have any believers in your family or in your ancestry. Tell them about their spiritual heritage. Show them pictures if you have any.
– give your kids/grandkids at least one ‘Christian’ gift for Christmas, like a Bible Dictionary or a good book by one of their favorite authors. One thing we always do is take $10 per grandchild x our 9 grandchildren = $90 and donate it to World Vision. From their Christmas catalog, we buy goats, ducks or chickens for a needy family. We print out a Christmas Thank You card from World Vision’s website and present it to the grandkids at Christmas time when opening the presents. We all pray for that family.
– pray for each child/grandchild for a whole day.
Our kids and especially our grandkids won’t remember how we started our “race” in life because they weren’t there. They’ll remember how we finished it, though. They’ll remember that we “fought the good fight, we finished the race, we kept the faith” – 2nd Timothy 4:7.
Let’s leave our kids and grandkids as rich a legacy as we can.
For His Kingdom,