Building your legacy with your children is what is left behind long after you are gone.
Here are five ways to build your legacy with those who follow you. These thoughts begin to simplify the legacy process and allows you to simply ‘walk it out’ than plan it out. Legacy cannot be written. It must be captured.
Some things are taught. Most are caught.
Stop trying to teach what others should be doing. Just walk it out. They will catch who you are, what you do, and how you succeed.
Sitting across the table after enjoying a nervous lunch of all-you-can-eat grilled liver and onions, I was about to ask my benefactor to finance a laptop for our ministry. He had already given financially to redesign our meeting space as well as adding more equipment to our weekly presentations. Nervously, I asked the question I had been getting ready for the whole time we were eating, “Jim, is it possible for you to finance a laptop so that I could better be able to minister?”
There was a pause.
A long pause.
He sat back and thought with his hand to his lips. He slowly reached into the vest pocket of his jacket and grabbed his checkbook. Pulling it out, he looked frustrated. Or was it determined?
“Jason,” he said, “I am going to give you the money to purchase a laptop. Before I do, I want you to understand something and I want you to listen. You minister to many people every week. Not one person is more important than this laptop or the video equipment or the buses or the building you meet in. People are always more important than things. Don’t ever think one piece of equipment is ever more important than a person. If you remember that, you will be successful.”
Today, the laptop is long gone but those words – people are always more important than things – are forever stuck in my memory. Thus, the legacy began.
Time after time I saw Jim place people before things and sometimes very expensive things. I caught what He meant. I got it.
Children Live What They Learn
Every counselor knows the phrase “children live what they learn”. Children do live what they learn though many things are caught, they learn from what you were teaching every day by who you are and what you do.
Here is the well-known poem by Dr. Dorothy Law Nolte called Children Live What They Live:
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
You Are Leaving a Legacy. Make Sure It Is Great!
Don’t want to worry about a legacy? No problem. You are going to do it anyways but you may not want to leave behind some things. You are leaving a legacy behind. Everyone leaves a legacy so make sure it’s a great one!
Latter days can be Better Than Your Former Days.
No matter what you’ve done in your past. Today is always a great day to begin building a great legacy. Like the old adage says, “make sure people at your funeral do not have to make up a good story for you.”
There is no day like today. You have something to offer the world. No matter who you are, what you have done, today is a great day to begin building your legacy and leaving the next generation with a great foundation to build.
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