I have a shelf (or two) filled with books dealing with finances, thrift, homemaking, and such. One book was recently added by financial guru, Jean Chatzky, “Money Rules.” The book lists 95 very basic rules for dealing with money throughout the seasons of life. I was reading, smiling, and just basically thumbing through the book…then I read rule number 88. Spend more time building a legacy than an inheritance. What’s more valuable: leaving $20,000 to your kids, or instilling in them a work ethic that lets them earn an extra $20,000 a year?
I have come back to that page a number of times, and spent even more time rolling the thought around in my mind. Are we leaving inheritances or legacies? Or more specifically, am I leaving inheritances or legacies? What would I gift to my descendants if I could wave a magic wand? A few things.
Hopefully, they have all developed a solid work ethic in temporal things. Have they developed the same work ethic in mental, emotional, and spiritual things? God is real, miracles do happen, and prayer has real power, but work is required. Relationships add richness and joy to our lives, but require commitment and effort. Education is the gateway to growth and success, yet it cannot be acquired half-heartedly, or through force-feeding. Self discipline and consistency must be applied.
Will I be successful at leaving a legacy of service, duty, enduring well? Or will they simply remember isolated conversations about the importance of those things?
Will home be a place of inherited “stuff” or will it be filled with love, peace, and acceptance that they can claim as their own, and carry with them where ever life takes them?
And, most important in my eyes, will they have received a legacy of faith in God, belief in His scriptures, and a desire to be with our family and Him forever?
What legacy are you hoping to leave to those you love?