This article was originally posted on Cathy Jacobs' blog, www.passthelegacy.com, on May 20, 2013. Join Cathy Jacobs for a free Grandparenting Seminar on Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 at Shandon Baptist Church.
A legacy is a gift or inheritance that lives on after we are gone. As grandparents, God intends for us to leave something that will endure long after we depart this world. How are we to do that?
Five ways to pass your legacy to the next generations:
First, tell your children and grandchildren your story.
As you sit around the Thanksgiving table, as you drive in the car on a trip, or as you tuck your kids in bed; tell your family how you first heard about the Lord. Did you always hear your parents talk about God? Or were you in college the first time you met someone who personally knew Jesus Christ? Whether you have walked with the Lord all your life or have just started the journey, share your story with your family. Tell them of the times you struggled with the Lord as well as let them know of the victories God has had in your life. As you communicate your tales of truth, you will be teaching on the “stage of life” about the ways, works and Words of God. You are passing a legacy of God’s faithfulness to the next generations.
Next, build warm memories with your family.
We want our grandchildren to remember the times they spent with us. So, be intentional and do things to imprint their hearts. These memories can be simple things — like always “bless” them before they leave. Or every night they are in your home, kneel beside the bed and say a prayer together. Strategically transform common, even painful events, into powerful, pleasant memories by modeling godly character and a positive attitude. These positive memories will be an anchor to truth in their adulthood.
“Three is a magic number” – Create meaningful traditions.
In today’s turbulent world, it is important for children to have security and stability. Regular and unique customs provide a beautiful backdrop of stability that enhances their outlook and appreciation for life. Our consistency sends a message that says three very important things: “You are loved, valued and special.”
Four, Encourage deeper walks with the Lord!
Read God’s Word to them on a regular basis. Tell them stories of the heroes of the faith. Pray with your family and let them know you are praying for them consistently. Share your heart’s desire that one day you want everyone to be together in the Kingdom of God with “no child left behind.” Let them know that it is not so important as to what you do in life. Rather, it is important as to who you are in Christ!!!
Finally, speak words of affirmation into your family.
No one can give encouragement like a grandma! When we speak words of support and unconditional love, we bolster their self-esteem and empower them toward maturity. Tell them how smart and talented they are and what bright futures you see for them. Watch their faces light up, soaking in every word!
These are powerful ways to leave a strong spiritual legacy for your family. And by doing so, you are connecting the hearts of your loved ones with the heart of their Heavenly Father.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Jacobs has lived in the SC Lowcountry for 25 years. During that time she raised her family of four children and became heavily invested in her community church. St. Paul’s, Summerville, eventually became both a place of worship and employment, as she served on the parish staff for 14 years as the full-time Director of Children and Family Ministry.
As part of this team, Catherine transformed the children’s ministry into a center for training parents and grandparents who encourage their children to become life long followers of Jesus. This passion for increasing the impact of a parent and grandparent’s impact on their child’s heart led to the creation of Pass the Legacy.