Last year when my parents came to visit, they brought me hundreds of pages of our family tree. My aunt spent many years compiling endless branches of our ancestry. As I was reading through them, I was awestruck with a statement from the last will and testament of Joseph Hawley (1690).
The very first thing my 12th Great Grandpa Joseph bequeathed back in the late 1600s was the following: “I, Joseph Hawley… My spirit I commit into the hands of Jesus Christ my Redeemer…”. What a legacy! I noticed similar wording sprinkled throughout wills in generations since.
When we think about making a will and putting our affairs in order, our financial affairs usually come to mind first. While it is nice (and also wise) to ensure our children, grandchildren, and other loved ones will not have to muddle through these things, and also know you plan to leave them a little something, very few people would prefer money over a treasure of happy memories.
A friend of mine had a discussion on this subject a few years ago with a woman who was responsible for her grandmother’s care—a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The young lady told shared how her grandmother worried that what little savings she had accumulated would go towards her care rather than being left to her granddaughter.
“I do not know how many times a day she fretted over that,” the granddaughter said, “but each time she did I told her she had already given me more happiness and memories than all the money in the world could buy…and I meant it.”
How did her grandmother accomplish this? She said, “Granny loved me unconditionally the way Jesus loves us. She always had time for me, and she taught me by doing things with her rather than watching so she could get them done quicker and better. She listened to me, she talked to me, and there was not one day in my life, before she died, that I did not know how proud she was of me - just because I was hers. In loving me this way, she shared her faith with me, taught me how to love my children and grandchildren the same way, and taught me how to receive that unconditional love from Jesus for myself.”
Folks that is a legacy of memories!
Parents and grandparents, listen up. Do not think all the hours you put in at work so you can buy more or spend more is what your kids want or need. They would rather have you. Please do not drop them off for their games and pick them up when it is over. Be there to cheer them on. They will never forget it. Do not ignore parent night at school or other such events because you are too busy or tired. Don’t fret over the flour on the floor, the less-than-perfect job of washing the car, the twenty-sixth time you have to untangle their fishing line, the not-so-neatly planted flowers, or any of those other things their little hands cannot manage to do quite so well as yours. Instead, spend your time and open your heart to making memories that will last long after your little ones are grown and you are gone.
Spend your time building faith and making a legacy of memories that will fill their hearts and minds with treasure worth far more than all the riches of the world.
Keywords: Leaving a Legacy of Memories