The political conventions are finished. Now begins the 60 day sprint towards election day. These next few weeks will have a significant impact on your family. Your ability to trust in God will be on display before your children and others who are close to you. I will have several posts on this topic. To get things started here is a previous post on this topic. Take some time to consider the legacy you leave to your children.
2008 is a leap year. The Summer Olympic Games will be held. Who knows what memorable events from 2008 will go down in history? In America there will be a presidential election. That election also marks the end of a president’s term in office. As that term draws to a close much is made of the legacy of that president. Political observers ponder how history will view the legacy of a president. Some presidents become obsessed with their legacy—their place in history. Decisions are made with an eye towards protecting and enhancing the elusive prize of a favorable legacy. In the end, a president’s legacy is determined by what was done, not by how he wanted others to think of him.
In contrast, parents often give too little thought to the legacy they are creating. Although contemplating your legacy may seem egotistical, the fact is that every parent does leave a legacy. Your legacy will be told in the lives of your children. Your parental legacy deserves your attention. The Bible speaks of this legacy in Psalm 78:4-7:
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
Your legacy will be told in the lives of your children. What will your grandchildren think of God? This is what verse 6 is addressing in Psalm 78. The psalmist looks into the future to see the impact of the gospel on children who are yet unborn, who will in turn tell their children of the glory of God.
Shaping influences will have much to say in determining your parental legacy. Tedd Tripp describes the impact of these influences: “The person your child becomes is a product of two things. The first is his life experience. The second is how he interacts with that experience.” While as a parent you may have limited ability to control some of the things that make up your child’s life experience—things like sickness, natural disasters, providential acts such as accidents and unexpected accidents or deaths—you have a much greater opportunity to influence how a child interacts with these experiences.
For example, let’s take the political climate of an election year. Parents, do you worry about the candidate who will be elected? In this particular election year many Christians are concerned about the potential nominees. Do your children see you fearful, discouraged, and even angry about the choice of candidates? Does this concern prevent you from communicating the comfort that God is the one establishes authorities (Colossians 1:15-20 and Daniel 2:21)? Will you pass on to your children an attitude of confidence that God is on the throne even when the political situation is bleak? Or will they interact with life with worry, frustration or perhaps apathy?
I Timothy 2 directs Christians to pray for those in government. This is a powerful legacy to give to your children. Imagine the stability of a home where prayer brings comfort and hope in troubled political times.
Political perspective is just one aspect of your parental legacy. Perhaps you can think of others. Leave your thoughts in the comments section. Let’s work together to give our children a legacy that will be carried forward to their children.