Author and cultural critic Neil Postman wrote, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see”. There is a lot of truth to what he wrote. Children are indeed a living legacy parents send into a world that they will never experience.
Most definitions of legacy deal with leaving behind money and property. In terms of raising children, a legacy is the set of values and traditions of life you hand down to your children.
Here are some thoughts about parental legacies.
The legacy you received is not as important as the legacy you leave. The legacy you received will definitely influence the legacy you leave, but it is not as important. Remember, the legacy you received doesn’t have to hold you in bondage and captivate the legacy you leave. The Christian faith is all about leaving behind the old things because new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The legacy you leave may have more influence in the world than the life you lead. The little people you influence can influence the world. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul wrote of the influence Timothy’s mother had upon him. As a pastor, Timothy had great influence on others in the early church.
The life you lead determines the legacy you leave. Children will do as we do and not as we say and will learn as they live and live as they learned. As the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Everyone leaves a legacy. Parents leave either lessons for life or leftovers from life. We are either pro-active or passively-active. Proverbs 22:6 is a very pro-active instructional verse.
The most lasting legacies are built on sacrifice, not selfishness. There is no such thing as a good selfish, self-centered parent. As Jesus said, He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Children are a part of our legacy. Like Postman wrote, children are living messages we send into a time we will not see.
What we do with our children now helps determine his or her future and our legacy in them.
Something to think about…