No matter who we are, where we live, or what our goals may be, we all have one thing in common: a heritage. That is, a social, emotional and spiritual legacy passed on from parent to child. Every one of us is passed a heritage, lives out a heritage, and gives a heritage to our family. It's not an option. Parents always pass to their children a legacy … good, bad or some of both.
A spiritual, emotional and social legacy is like a three-stranded cord. Individually, each strand cannot hold much weight. But wrapped together, they are strong. That's why passing on a positive, affirming legacy is so important and why a negative legacy can be so destructive. The good news is that you can pass on a legacy that is powerful, purposeful and full of your fingerprints and lifeprints.
The Emotional Legacy
In order to prosper, our children need an enduring sense of security and stability nurtured in an environment of safety and love.
Sadly, many of us struggle to overcome a negative emotional legacy that hinders our ability to cope with the inevitable struggles of life. But imagine yourself giving warm family memories to your child. You can create an atmosphere that provides a child's fragile spirit with the nourishment and support needed for healthy emotional growth. It will require time and consistency to develop a sense of emotional wholeness, but the rewards are worth the time.
A strong emotional legacy:
Provides a safe environment in which deep emotional roots can grow.
Fosters confidence through stability.
Conveys a tone of trusting support.
Nurtures a strong sense of positive identity.
Creates a “resting place” for the soul.
Demonstrates unconditional love.
The Social Legacy
To really succeed in life, our children need to learn more than management techniques, accounting, reading, writing and geometry. They need to learn the fine art of relating to people. If they learn how to relate well to others, they'll have an edge in the game of life.
In order to prosper, our children need to gain the insights and social skills necessary to cultivate healthy, stable relationships. As children mature, they must learn to relate to family members, teachers, peers and friends. Eventually they must learn to relate to coworkers and many other types of people such as salespeople, bankers, mechanics and bosses.
Key building blocks of children's social legacy include:
Respect, beginning with themselves and working out to other people.
Responsibility, fostered by respect for themselves, that is cultivated by assigning children duties within the family, making them accountable for their actions, and giving them room to make wrong choices once in a while.
Unconditional love and acceptance by their parents, combined with conditional acceptance when the parents discipline for bad behavior or actions.
The setting of social boundaries concerning how to relate to God, authority, peers, the environment and siblings.
Rules that are given within a loving relationship
The Spiritual Legacy
The Spiritual Legacy is overlooked by many, but that's a mistake. As spiritual beings, we adopt attitudes and beliefs about spiritual matters from one source or another. As parents, we need to take the initiative and present our faith to our children. Parents who successfully pass along a spiritual legacy to their children model and reinforce the unseen realities of the godly life.
Five Spiritual Legacies to pass on to children:
1. Acknowledge and reinforce spiritual realities? Do your children know, for example, that Jesus loves everyone? That God is personal, loving and will forgive us?
2. View God as a personal, caring being who is to be loved and respected?
3. Make spiritual activities a routine part of life?
4. Clarify timeless truth — what's right and wrong?
5. Incorporate spiritual principles into everyday living.