LEGACY IS NOT FOUND IN WEALTH, FAME OR POWER

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Encouragement, leaving a legacy, Moms

A Generational Impact that Transcends Your Life

(This post is originally found at Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website here.)

Since antiquity, men have tried desperately to beat the game and achieve some measure of earthly immortality.  The Egyptians built pyramids and filled them with material wealth they hoped to take along to the next world.  Sorry Pharaoh.  Grave robbers reaped the benefit of that miscalculation a few centuries later.  A thousand years hence, Spaniards hunted for the “fountain of youth” to reverse the ravages of time.  It was a nice thought.

The search continues today. Some of the ways modern man seeks to “live” beyond the grave are as follows:

1.  Through art.  Rembrandt, Picasso, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Frank Lloyd Wright achieved some remembrance beyond their passing.

2.  Through philanthropy.  Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Huntingdon secured their place in the culture by building libraries, concert halls, and hospitals in their memory.

3.  Through business.  Ford, Krup, Getty, and the Warner Brothers immortalized their names…at least to this point.

4. Through children.  Henry VIII was desperate for an heir, so that his bloodline and legacy might survive his death.

5.  Through literature.  Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and Steinbeck will be remembered for centuries.

6.  Through politics and history.  Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, and Roosevelt have secured their place in history.

7.  Through conquest.  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung are notable examples.

8.  Through science.  Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Edison, and Hubble made the grade here.

9.  Through cryonics.  A more recent effort has led people to arrange to have their bodies freeze-dried in hopes some future medical technology will bring them back alive.  Lots of luck!

There are other approaches to the pall that hangs over the entire human race…the nagging specter of death.  All of them have a basic flaw, however.  They permit only a person’s memory to escape the grim reaper.  Sooner or later, even those who achieve cultural immortality will die like the rest of us.  Like John Brown in the Civil War ballad: “His body lies a’molderin’ in the grave.”

True eternal life is available from only one source.  It is a free gift to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His forgiveness for sin.  Only through this Gate can we escape the sting of death and the “victory” of the grave.

“True enough,” a critic might reply, “but I’m not trying to accumulate wealth for my own use.  My goal is to pass it along to my children and future generations. I want them to have it easier than I did . . . to enjoy a head start that only money can give.”

Shirley and I have spent many hours thinking and talking about that objective with reference to our own children.  Even it if were possible for us to leave them a large estate, would that be a wise thing to do?  I think not.  It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup, and many young people have been destroyed by money that burned its way through their lives.

In a sociological study published under the title “Rich Kids,” we read the case histories of individuals who inherited large trust funds.  The findings were consistent: wealth passed to the second and third generations has typically wreaked havoc in the lives of the recipients.  They fought each other to control it.  They lost their incentives to work.  They lived profligate lives.  They shamefully wasted their resources. Some even committed suicide.  When the Apostle Paul said “the love of money is the root of all evil,” he spoke the truth.

Should it be our desire, then, to inflict this “evil” on our precious children?  Not to excess, certainly.  It makes sense to help the next generation get started or perhaps to assist with the purchase of their first homes. but if our objective is to generate wealth for those who will not earn it, we are putting our beloved children at high risk for satanic mischief.  Likewise, we must not get so busy attempting to give our kids what we didn’t have as children that we fail to give them what we did have as kids.

Perhaps it is clear now why I emerged from the mid-life years with some concepts firmly in place.  My children (and other people) are the only things I can take to heaven with me.  That’s why I left the medical school back in 1977 and declined almost all speaking invitations that came my way.  It became clear to me that Danae and Ryan were temporary residents in our home…that they would soon be grown and on their own.  Parenthood is a short-term affair, and the opportunity to lead and influence them was a “now or never” proposition.  Thus, I retooled my professional responsibilities and focused heavily on my own family I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and a few rather good ones, but this was my most brilliant moment.  The empty nest did indeed come quickly, and I thank God I have not squandered my most precious privilege of participating in the lives of my children.

From Dr. Dobson’s Straight Talk To Men, Chapter 1: A Man Looks Back

5 Reasons To Pray Together As A Family

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Ideas, leaving a legacy, Prayers, Praying Together

We say mealtime prayers and pray with our kids at bedtime, but do we gather the family to seek God and expect Him to answer?  Do we fervently seek God’s heart and will; praise Him, thank Him, ask for forgiveness, and pray for others and our needs?

The fact is the majority of church attending parents aren’t praying as families. George Barna’s research revealed that less than 10% of parents in the church pray together with their kids other than at mealtimes.*

Grandparents With Impact

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, leaving a legacy

Many novels have been written about the mysteries and treasures surrounding Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Whether it is in the attic or a long dark hallway with beckoning rooms, there is something special about the visits to the grandparents.  The food tastes better, the smells are sweeter, and the conversations more endearing.  On one visit to my grandparents, my sister and I found a closet at the end of the hall which aroused our curiosity.  The musty smell, the delicately stitched doilies, and the old treasures were a delight to explore.  In one box, I found a little green Bible with gold engraved letters.  It was just my size and it was my favorite color.  Grandmother gave it to me and I carried it with me everywhere I went.  God’s seed was sown.

3 Things Every Dad Should Do After Pulling In The Driveway (Part 3)

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Ideas, leaving a legacy, Resources

3 things every dad#1. Find Mom. (click here for part 1.)

#2. Sit  (click here for part 2.)

#3. LEAD.  (Time: 15+)

Not like a drill sergeant.  Your family needs you to lead them to the heart of God; to be a family that faithfully follows Christ.

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24.15

As the father goes, so goes the family.  Our influence as dads is a mysterious wonder.  We (maybe I’m speaking for myself here) need reminding how our leadership (or lack of) impacts our family.  (Read this article I wrote of a compilation of dad stats.)

It is so easy to rely on vacations, cheering at sporting events and dropping them off church, for checking the box of being a good Christian dad.  There is so much more.

Grandparenthood: Devoted and Connected

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Grandparents, Ideas, leaving a legacy

Grandparenthood graphic

 

When attending a church Bible study last Sunday morning I witnessed a grandfather who was made fun of (even by the pastor) for having Facebook. I was unexpectedly blessed when I heard his response.  It brought an “amen” to my lips and a challenge to all the other grandparents. He said, “The only reason I have a Facebook is to stay connected with my grand kids!”

I also recently encountered another grandfather who said, “I am not going to learn how to text. I can’t do all that stuff. If they want to talk to me they can pick up the phone.”

It’s obvious which one of these grandfathers is more connected, more devoted, going to have a generational impact and leave a legacy of faith.

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