I don’t remember that I thought too much about the word legacy—not in a personal sense, anyway—until my first grandchild was born. As parents, we’re so involved in the daily aspects of guiding our children, and we’re so committed to being there for them every step of the way, that we don’t think as much in terms of what legacy we leave for them after we are gone.
But truthfully, every parent does leave some kind of a legacy. So do grandparents.
A legacy, however, isn’t something you dream up and write as a pre-eulogy. It’s something you live—every day.
In other words, what you do today is shaping your legacy of tomorrow.
Recognizing the value of a legacy and the importance of today in shaping it gives meaning to the mundane. Driving your kids to school, planning a family night, going to ball games, praying with your children before bed—although we do these regularly, we must remember that each instance is meaningful. It has accumulative strength in shaping a child’s heart for God.
Seeing the everyday actions of our lives as elements of a legacy also adds responsibility to these regular actions. It reminds us that we need to seize the moments to invest in the lives of our children and grandchildren.
How can we shape a godly legacy on a daily basis?
1. Walk in the Spirit
Leaving a godly legacy begins with living a godly life. And living a godly life begins with walking in the Spirit.
Perhaps there is no role more in need of the leadership of the Holy Spirit than that of a father. The level of wisdom, sensitivity, strength, and energy that we need as dads can only come from the Holy Spirit. Leading your children begins with allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you.
2. Differentiate between the Urgent and the Important
Children don’t typically press their needs—especially their heart needs—as persistently as the urgent items on our to do lists. They don’t send reminder emails or call during dinner to say, “I need you, Dad. Please listen to me!” But their needs are indeed important.
If we’re not careful, we miss the daily needs of our children for direction, affirmation, and love. You will always have something urgent demanding your time. Parents who leave a legacy learn to see through the high pressure of the urgent and daily invest in the eternal—the hearts of their children.
3. Purposefully Invest Yourself
When we make financial investments, we study, get counsel, and plan. We’re intentional about the process because we want a good return for our investment.
Our children are our most precious possessions, and they are worthy of our purposeful investment. As dads, we should be as intentional about investing our time and ourselves into our children as we would be about building a portfolio or establishing a career. Actually, we should be even more intentional about our investment in our children.
4. Live in Light of Eternity
It seems just yesterday that our four children were the ages our grandchildren are now. And before I know it, I’ll be wondering where the time went when our grandkids were young!
To give my children and grandchildren a legacy that matters, I must live today—every day—with eternity in view.
If I only live for today, I am selfish. If I only live for my lifetime, I am short-sighted. If I live for eternity, I will make daily investments that make a difference in the hearts and lives of my children and grandchildren.
To leave a legacy, you must build a legacy. And building a legacy is an everyday activity.