Every month, I am involved in a Kingdom Advisors Study Group and January’s focus is on legacy.
Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.J.W. Whitehead from Exploring Stewardship section of The Stewardship Study Bible
Did you know that there are three kinds of legacy!
1. The Legacy We Received
When considering the legacy I received, my thoughts immediately went to my grandfather, Arch Woodworth, who has been described as “a good man.” He was consistent in his work, loved his Lord and maybe without realizing it, was an example to me. I remember as a child seeing him stand in church and quote: “Be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not.” He lived that verse; it was part of the fabric of who he was.
As a financial advisor, when I was asked about my family background (particularly when doing business on the Baie Verte peninsula), I would often share who my grandfather was and that he had worked in Advocate mines. When they knew whose grandson I was, it created an immediate connection of trust because of him. That’s part of the legacy I received.
2. The Legacy We Leave
As we age, we think more deeply about the legacy we will leave. What will our children and grandchildren receive from us? A similar word for legacy is inheritance, which is what you receive from another person, usually through a legal document, like a will. We can leave a financial legacy which can be valued by our heirs, but Ron Blue says, it is important to transfer wisdom before you transfer wealth. In his book, Splitting Heirs, Ron warns;
The worst thing you can do is to pass wealth if you haven’t passed wisdom. Good stewardship includes not only providing for your family, but also being sure that every family knows how to manage that provision.Ron Blue, Splitting Heirs, p.71
3. The Legacy We Live
This may be the most challenging, but because you are reading this today, it means that you still have an opportunity to live out your legacy. One activity we did with our adult children was to ask them to think of 5 words that would describe our values as a family. This provided a significant opportunity for conversation and helped reveal what we have lived as parents. Words such as compassion, respect, delight, authenticity, and fun-loving were some of the values shared.
Surprisingly, all of the kids chose one word in common and that was “generosity.” You may have heard the phrase, “sometimes things are more often caught than taught.” That was the case here because even though mine and Cathy’s lists did not include that word, our children had seen it lived out. That’s when your values actually become virtues.
We may hold generosity as a value, but the virtue is behaving generously. Alignment occurs when we transform our values into virtues. Simply identifying our primary values is not sufficient. The next step is to define more precisely how we intend to embody the values in our daily lives – regardless of external pressures.Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement
Take the time to ponder the questions in these four areas of legacy as you pass on the wisdom you have acquired in life.
1. Personal Legacy Question:
What will you be remembered for? You will leave a legacy whether it is by design or by default.
2. Family Legacy Questions:
Are you intentional to build into, or live out the values that represent your family? Have you discussed your family values and codified your family vision/mission statement?
3. Financial Legacy Questions:
Considering your financial legacy, what do you hope your inheritance will accomplish in the lives of your heirs? How prepared are your children to receive an inheritance?
4. Charitable Legacy Questions:
What are your current giving practices? If you are leaving money to charity, are your children the ones to give it away and are they trained and prepared for such a task?
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.Psalm 90:12 NLT