What is the greatest legacy you could pass on to your children and grandchildren?
Lavish Christmas presents? Money? Property? Investments? Family name? Social or business connections?
Nope. None of these items is guaranteed to bless others. In fact, all of these things could become a snare or a stumbling block if your children don’t know how to handle them wisely.
Your greatest legacy is the wisdom you have accumulated over the course of your life. Especially your wisdom on how to love God, discipline yourself and serve others.
So here’s a question that you don’t want to ignore until you’re on your deathbed: what have you done to make sure that the essence of your wisdom–the sum of your life experiences–will be fully and accurately passed down to your children? To your grandchildren? To relatives and friends who respect you and would benefit from your accumulated wisdom and experience.
Don’t assume that just because you’ve said something dozens of times it will stick in your children’s memories. (How long do you remember other people’s words?)
So here’s an idea … something that would make an unforgettable Christmas gift and a powerful way to inspire personal growth in the new year: write out a statement of your most important life lessons and principles and share it with those you love.
To get you started, here is a list of 121 wisdom principles that Corlette and I compiled for our children and grandchildren as our most important gift to them: Our Legacy – Principles We Pray Our Children and Grandchildren Will Embrace.
We hope this list will encourage you to compile your own insights to pass on to those you love. If you find principles on our list that you embrace, please feel free to use them on your list (here is a Word version you can use as a template).
Even if your children don’t appreciate all of your values today, there will come a time when they will see them through different eyes—eyes that have been opened by age, experience and the Holy Spirit. When that happens, they will thank God that you took the time to preserve and pass on to them your greatest legacy … your personal compilation of relational wisdom.
“For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her” (Prov. 8:11).
– Ken Sande
- One of the most common fears that parents have, regardless of religious, political or social economic backgrounds, is that their children will not embrace their values. Is this true of you? How could developing a written list of family values increase the likelihood that your children and grandchildren will be benefiting from your wisdom long after you leave this world?
- What are some of the wisest principles your parents, grandparents or other godly people passed down to you? Have you passed them on to your children?
- Did you value all of your parents’ wisdom when you were young? At what age did you begin to truly appreciate it?
- Imagine that you are on your death bed and have only enough time to pass three wisdom principles on to your children. What would they be?
- Why wait until time runs short? Start writing them down today. Your children will one day praise you for doing so.
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like. If you wish to adapt the questions to better suit your group, please include a parenthetical note (Questions adapted with permission of RW360) and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2017 Ken Sande
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