“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. “
– Proverbs 13:22
When I read the Bible verse above from Proverbs 13:22, I normally think in terms of material wealth. How cool would it be to pass on some monetary wealth not only to your own kids, but to your grandkids as well? As I look and have read more into this verse, I don’t think an inheritance is simply the passing down of possessions and wealth. An inheritance passed down can also be called a legacy. I like the quote in the picture above from Maya Angelou that your legacy is what you have poured into the world such as caring for your family, for others, and the living a life of contentment and gratitude.
I feel that passing down those traits is through the generations will bring success to your kids and grandkids. Even though my kids are very young, I want to leave not only a financial legacy for them manage for God’s Kingdom, but also a legacy of how to live their lives in service to God and for others around them. Even though I am still on this journey myself, I feel that there are some ways in which we can pass along a legacy that we are proud of for generations to come.
I want my kids and their kids to be hard workers. My parents and my wife’s parents are extremely hard workers. We learned that trait from them. If we want something, we have to roll up our sleeves, get dirty and get the job done. By setting goals and talking through them with your children, they will begin to understand what it takes to achieve long-term goals. Here are some ways to instill a good work ethic in your children:
- Set a Positive Example- Get out there with your child when doing the yard work, house cleaning, etc. and show them you will be working right beside them.
- First We Work Then We Play– This is something I say a lot to my own kids. Plan a fun activity of their choice after the job is done. It is a win-win for you and them.
- Read Stories of Hard Work– Show them that it isn’t just your family that works hard. A great story about integrity for young kids is titled A Day’s Work By Eve Bunting.
- Make Chores a Shared Responsibility- As your kids get older, teach them a new skill and let me them handle more responsibility with household tasks like vacuuming, taking out the trash, lawn mowing, etc.
Caring for Others
We not only want our kids and grandkids to care for our own families, but for our neighbors and community as well. It is important to serve in your community and give back to those that are less fortunate than you are. It not only feels good, but God calls us to serve others in need. When you have kids, their world completely revolves around them, so here are some practical ways to help them care for others around them:
- Bring your kids with you to Volunteer- My dad often took me along with him during Adopt-a-Highway clean-up days when I was a kid and I always like seeing kids volunteering with their parents. Something just seems to change inside of a person when they can physically see the impact their are having on someone else’s lives.
- Help with a Neighbor’s Lawn Care Needs. Throughout the year, we can take our kids around the neighborhood and help an elderly neighbor with their spring and fall clean-up, planting a garden, or shoveling snow in the winter.
- Visit with Someone in a Retirement Home– This can be an incredibly rewarding experience because these folks have a lifetime of wisdom and experiences to share with you and your children and it would make their day to have a new visitor!
With multiple social media options, we are reminded daily of everyone’s new car, house, luxurious vacations, and their latest menu order at the new 5-star restaurant. It is hard to be content with what we have when all around us we are reminded of everything we don’t have. Your children have the same feelings when they go to the store and can’t get the toy, game, or other material good they are hoping for.
These are teachable moments. Try to lead by example and save up for what you want and be able to pay with cash. Explain along the way the reason for the delayed gratification, and how cool a newer car is when you don’t have a monthly payment! If they see you pass by something that you want badly, they too will pick that up by watching you practicing contentment.
Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey teamed up a few years back and wrote a book called Smart Money Smart Kids. I read this book a few months back and I think it is a powerful way to help promote financial literacy at a young age with your children. From ages 5 or so through high school, this book goes through age-appropriate steps we can take to help model and give opportunities for our kids to manage God’s financial resources.
One of the biggest pieces of wisdom I have picked up is telling my kids often that we first give a portion of our money because it has been given to us by God. We have a giving, saving, and spending envelope. We always start with the giving because I want my kids to know that we should give off of the top of what we earn. I have really enjoyed taking my kids to the store and have conversations about what they want to buy and if they don’t have enough money, then setting a goal to earn that money for nex time.
If you walk through and talk about wise financial decisions when they are young, you will be able to trust them and their children with your financial inheritance when you are gone.
More Is Caught Than Taught
Some days I feel like I am getting the hang of this and other days I feel like am missing the mark completely. Over time, your kids will become young men and women who are willing to help others as well as themselves.
No matter what setting we are in, our kids are looking to us to show them how they should treat others. We can tell them all we want about how they should live their lives, but until they see us in the trenches doing the hard work, caring for others, and being content when we really don’t feel like it, only then will they see the value in it.
It is my hope that you not only are able to leave a financial legacy to your children’s children, but more importantly, leaving a legacy of service and gratitude that will be a blessing to our heavenly Father. Have a blessed Easter for He is risen!