Is it true?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?
A legacy is the story of some-one’s life, the things they did, places they went, goals they accomplished, their failures, and more. Legacy is something that a person leaves behind to be remembered by. Legacies are pathways that guide people in decisions with what to do or what not to do. By wanting to leave a mark and create a legacy example for people to follow.
Leaving behind a legacy is important no matter who you are. Heroes, villains, and everyday people leave behind a legacy that creates meaning in our lives. A grandmother’s legacy may be important to her family. A family’s heritage is a legacy that a person would be interested in.
A legacy also leaves behind the story of a person so that they are not forgotten. Legacies are important pathways for the future to follow or to be guided by in order to make better decisions in life. Leaving behind a legacy gives us comfort in knowing that once we are gone, we will not be erased from the memories of others.
"Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that
you have received...but only what you have given," Francis of Assisi.
The Legacy of Memories
Sharing or creating memories gives your family the gift of “you.” Share stories about your life, about your childhood and teenage experiences. These stories let your family know about who you are and who you were. They create a sense of history and heritage. Even if grandchildren don’t fully appreciate your stories now, it’s likely they will later in life, which thus creates that legacy of memories. Spending time with your family is also important – in a variety of life’s settings – as these times will create memories that stick with your grandchildren, i.e. the “Power of Being There!”
The Legacy of Faith
The greatest legacy you can leave is the gift of faith. Model your faith, letting them see what the Christian life looks like in real life. Talk about what faith in Jesus Christ means to you. Engage your family in discussion about spiritual issues. If you’ve been a believer for a long time, express to your family the ways your faith has changed, been challenged and has deepened over the years. Throughout the years, as your family matures in faith, they will develop an increasing gratitude of the heritage of faith that you have contributed!
The Legacy of Life
Make note in that the characteristics of real life are based on the fruits of the Spirit, which are found in Scripture in Galatians 5:22-25. The characteristics are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In your interactions with your family, anything you can do to model, speak about or praise these characteristics invests in driving these principles deep into their hearts, creating a desire for a Spirit-led and Spirit-fed life.
The Legacy of Love
Loving your grandchildren now will have a powerful influence on the kind of people they will grow up to become. Loving your grandkids doesn’t mean that you have to buy them expensive gifts! Ultimately, the best demonstration of love you can provide is by your presence and involvement in your grandchildren’s lives. Give them the gift of yourself! This is possible even when you’re not physically present through phone, notes, emails and the like. Love is powerful! Loving your grandchildren will make a lifelong difference! Never underestimate the power of a grandparent’s love.
Legacy planning is anything handed down from one generation to the next. It can be heredity (green eyes), inheritance (dollars and cents), or heritage (spiritual). Spiritual legacy leavers are the most important, from my perspective:
Make time for family
Know actions teach louder than words.
It is never too soon to begin teaching salvation and stewardship.
The local church is an ally.
Be happy and laugh a lot.
Vivian VanLier recommends the following protirement exercises and question:
Start a protirement planning journal. Let this be where you place all your ideas as they come to you about what you'd like to do "someday." Cut out pictures that represents your desired future and pastes them into the journal: pictures of places you'd like to travel to, of how you'd like your home and surroundings to look, of the work (whether paid or volunteer) you are doing. Are these pictures similar to your life today, or different? Allow yourself to dream. Don't edit!
Set aside an hour or two. Meditate, listen to music, do what works for you to get in a relaxed state. Now write in your journal about your life 10, 20, 30 years from now. Include details describing a typical day, week, and month. Where are you living? Who are your friends? What do you do for your health? What are your hobbies? What is your work, if you are working? Be imaginative and let your mind wander. Don't edit!
Pretend you've won the lottery and you never have to worry about money again. What would you do with your time? What interests would you pursue that you just haven't had time for? Don't edit!
Make a list of things you've ever enjoyed doing. Look back over your life and remember what it felt like just have a good time. Do you do those things now? Have you forgotten what your hobbies and interests are because you've just been too busy working and living life? Keep writing and add to the list as you remember joys from the past. What have you always wanted to do that you never had time for? Add those to the list. Don't edit!
How do you want to be remembered? Pretend you are a fly on the wall at your own funeral. What are people saying about you? Have you lived a life in synch with how you want to be remembered? What can you do in the future to become the person they are talking about?
Remembering Your Story, by Richard L. Morgan, is an excellent resource to help you write your story. Kindle Direct Publishing (e-copy) and Create Space (paper copy) are inexpensive ways to publish. I’ve used both sources to publish.
My elderhood protirement journey with God’s help includes:
The Summit with Amy Hanson, PhD, gerontologist and intergenerational ministry specialist, teacher, free-lance writer, speaker, consultant, author and mother of three
Founding of New Beginnings (gonewbeginnings.org/), a personal website dedicated to helping second-halfers’ finish extremely well
The Longevity Response-Ability Crusade, a reform organizational action group for second half of life equality and a better society
USA Missions Harvest Campaign, an initiative to equip 60 million second-halfers to evangelize 82 million unchurched
Contributor to the forum on a new life stage, longevity response-ability, elderhood, protirement, salvation, elderhood evangelism, stewardship, and second half of life equality. An essential ingredient for accompanying equality is changing the requirements for ministry degrees to include training and equipping pastors for the new life stage, elderhood.
Author of Second-Half Elderhood Protirement Ministry; Longevity Response-Ability; Making an Aging Difference; A New Life Stage; Life Stages Lessons; The Essential Ingredients for Second-Half Ministry; Planning the Life God Wants; Daily Legacy Living; Chism’s Isms; The Second Half of Life; Gods’s Grand Plan; and Fundamental Retirement/Protirement Planning. All royalties after expenses go to fund helping second-halfers’.
Speaker, Teacher, and Consultant.
Inter-family and inter-generation communication
Be happy and laugh a lot
Spend time together with loved ones
Share life lessons and family stories
Coordinate sentimental property
Encourage your Church to facilitate the process of training and equipping ministry degree graduates for work with elderhood adults.
For further detail consult my book, Longevity Response-Ability and Daily